Critical Analysis of “Atheism Kills” by Barak Lurie

It wasn’t all that long ago that pastors all across the USA were saying that homosexuality was the greatest threat to America, even more so then communism. There was the Satanic Panic. And of course, the Red Scare. And there is an American lawyer in Los Angeles who is still living in that era, using fear and propaganda as a tool instead of constructing an intellectual or honest fact-based argument to scare people to win his case (which is concerning and makes one wonder how does Barak Lurie operate as a lawyer?).

Lurie’s book “Atheism Kills” is basically a masterpiece of projection mixed with falsehoods, border lining on bigotry (not just on atheists, but also several minorities) with a dash of “America, fuck yeah!” in the sense that (like during the Red Scare) he’s all pro-America and anti-communism and pro-war against the “bad guys” like jihadists to defend America. Lurie’s entire premise rests on equating atheism with communism, totalitarianism, and nihilism, which all will lead to mayhem and death. Truth be told, this book has a better chance of killing me than my atheism.

Barak Lurie claims he was an atheist (gee, I’ve seen this movie a million times). If his testimony is true then from everything I’ve read, it’s easy to surmise he was quite a shitty person… and it appears not much has changed (this book and all its pages of slander and borderline bigotry for minorities leaves an undeniable impression that he remains a shitty person). Lurie projects that since he was a shitty atheist, then all atheists are shitty. Apparently no one never told Lurie that this world is not that simple. Given that atheism has no doctrines or codes, it is easy for Lurie to argue that every bad thing atheists have done is because their atheism permitted them to do so and every good thing they’ve done cannot be given credit to atheism but was more-or-less an meaningless attempt because everything is meaningless if there is no magical sky-daddy watching and planning everything. Imagine reading chapter and chapter of of a book claiming nothing matters if there are no leprechauns at the end of the rainbow. That is exactly how I felt reading this book.

Nothing in this book convinced me that atheism leads to meaninglessness. Who cares if there is no sky-daddy or leprechauns, that doesn’t make life meaningless. It may make it less mystical, but not less important and wondrous. And that is something that Lurie does not realize, like a child who cannot see the point of life and the large world without an imaginary friend to play hide-and-seek with. This book just made me wonder how much of life is Lurie missing out on? But then I remembered I’ve heard theists my whole life saying this life doesn’t matter because they are too busy looking forward to a afterlife too much to appreciate this life.

The other half of Lurie’s entire case is projecting atheism always leads to communism/fascism/totalitarianism and to people killing people. While Lurie tries to make his lousy case against a rejection of a set of beliefs somehow leads to X-Y-Z, he brushes aside the point that same case could be made on a set of beliefs with doctrines and a whole collection of books (bundled into one) that make an open and clear case what said belief can lead to A through Z. Sorry, you can’t have your cake and eat it too. Arguing a lack of belief in mysticism leading a person to murder another is one thing (and quiet a stretch but not impossible), but it’s hard to argue there is no connection with believing in a religion that openly promotes death and believers killing who their faith permits to kill. And in the case of Christianity, it’s anyone who is deemed a heretic, a sinner (which is literally EVERYONE), or anyone who the voice in their heads tells them to kill. So nobody is safe.

Even if atheism turned out to be 100% false, that doesn’t mean life isn’t threatened by theism, because like it or not, theism kills. As Lurie admits in this book, there are many cases throughout history were people killed in the name in Jesus Christ and other gods.

But enough of that, let’s see how Lurie tries to connect atheism to everything evil…

*Note: I read this book on PDF format, so the pages I cite may or may not align with the pages in book form. If they don’t, I apologize, so to avoid as much confusion as I can, I will for the most part surmise what Lurie writes.

Chapter 1: The Not Very Good, The Pretty Bad, and the Really Really Ugly

Five Stories

Opens with the following stories:

  • 1) China forcing people to be sterilized and have abortions.
  • 2) A group of 5 teens record a Florida man drowning.
  • 3) Marc Lépine walking into a classroom at L’École Polytechnique at the University of Montréal with a gun and knife, told the men to get out, while he killed all the women one at a time while the men right outside did nothing, even as Marc walked out, then killed more women in the cafeteria and elsewhere. Total killed 14 women, wounded ten more (including 4 men) in a crossfire. No one tried to stop him.
  • 4) A Christian soldier, Edmonds, is caught by the Nazis in WWII. POW’s were separated into Jews and non-Jews. When they were to be sorted, the soldier convinced all the POW’s to say they were Jewish. They kept saying they were Jewish, even when the Nazi held a gun to Edmond’s head. The commander decided from then on to no longer separate the POW’s based on who is Jewish, thus sparing 200 Jewish-American soldiers.
  • 5) Last story is about a woman, Peral, who is captured by ISIS and sold again and again to vile men and is raped. She manages to find a phone, calls a friend, and tells them to trace the number and “kill us all.”

Lurie states, “Each of these stories will play out in some way throughout this book. They are anecdotes that reflect the dangers and emptiness of atheism on the one hand and the need for God on the other.” (Ch. 1, pg. 33)

1) Atheism doesn’t lead to abortions. If that were the case, half of Europe plus Russia and Japan would adopt a One Child Policy. But that’s not the case, in fact some of them (including Russia and Japan) is doing the opposite and incentivizing people to have families. It seems atheism isn’t the definite factor for forced abortions, it’s regarding population control.

2) Apathy of kids. For all we know, those teens were watching that man’s journey to go knocking on the Pearly Gates. Whatever the reason, what the kids did was wrong. But we don’t have enough information to know if they didn’t believe in god.

But even if they had beliefs in God, would that have made them attempt to save the drowning man? Hard to say, but as history has revealed to us, having a belief in god doesn’t guarantee people will act or relieve them of any apathy (After all, the dying person is an evil sinner who deserves Hell, so who cares? Let God sort them out). Watching people die and doing nothing about it despite inaction being unethical… wasn’t that the theme during the Salem Witch trials? Whole crowds of Christians watching as people were burned or hanged for fake crimes, and those crowds did nothing and likely cheered. If the inaction of the 5 teens upset you, you should be outraged by the countless of people who did nothing to stop “witches” from being executed for made-up crimes to the thousands of Aztecs who cheered as countless human victims were sacrificed by the Aztec priests because they believed human sacrifice pleased the gods.

The point is, regardless if atheism is true or not, the fact remains theism doesn’t fix the problem of apathy or a person capable of helping yet doing nothing when someone is dying in front of them. I’m not saying atheism will, but you can’t blame atheism for something that happens to even religious people. Take all the religious parents who did not help their own dying children. They had every opportunity to save them, but their faith told them to not seek medical help. How is this different than the 5 teens just watching a man drown? The teens could’ve helped him, but did nothing. The parents could’ve saved their own children, but did nothing — and these are fully grown Christian adults, believers in Judeo-Christian ethics (which heavily implied by Lurie, makes them very moral people with a moral foundation to stand on). Yet those ethics and beliefs didn’t compel them to save a life, rather those beliefs compelled them to do nothing except pray as their child was suffering and dying. Would Lurie feel any different if the story of the 5 teens not helping did not digitally record the man drowning some meters away from them but instead stood there and prayed as they watched the man drown? Would that make it better?

Now I’m not saying that all theists will do nothing when a person is dying, I know most of them will help however they can. All I am saying is that theism doesn’t solve the problem of some people existing who will not help. Nor will atheism. Some people are just apathetic; some may be too young to do anything; some may be too timid to speak up or do anything…. and some may be told not to do anything, even take comfort in not going anything, and/or take pride in participating in horrendous acts. This is one reason why I strongly oppose religion, because it doesn’t make good people be good but it can make good people do evil things. (Ex. “Thou shall not suffer a witch to live“… those are divine words to many people, which can cause certain people to not do anything or feel anything bad while watching a person in front of them being hung or burned alive for a fake crime — it gets worse, such divine words can cause people to sing, celebrate and praise God while a innocent person burns to death right before them. The faith tells them it is a good thing, a God-ordained order, to kill witches hence they feel glad when a witch dies. This isn’t a by-gone issue, witch hunts continue to occur to this day. Why is this still happening? Perhaps that’s because religions rarely ever change, and the Bible to this day still contains passages that clearly claim a “fake-craft-with-no-evidence-of-it-being-real” is actually real and is punishable by death. Recall that bit from the documentary Jesus Camp were little kids are told that Harry Potter is an an enemy of God and should be put to death. The crowd of little children cheered, applauded and yelled “Amen.” These are kids, clapping to the belief that people should be put to death for a fake crime because God deemed it okay to kill witches. This is very dangerous, because there are very recent instances were American deeply-religious Christians have killed people for practicing witchcraft. What if those kids at Jesus Camp grow up, encounter a witch, then kill the witch like they were told to do by “God”? If that wasn’t scary enough, this “kill for God” mentality can be applied to so much more, for “God’s Laws” has a long list of actions where the punishment is death, including worshiping a different God. And for a lot of people, these “divine commands” are the justification to get behind the killing of people while feeling good about themselves. Ergo, religion can make otherwise good people do evil things. There is a reason why people have a point when they say “religion poisons everything.”)

3) Marc Lépine was the son of a non-practicing Muslim and a former nun; he was baptized a Roman Catholic yet not raised with religious instructions, and his mom says he was an “atheist” his whole life. His father was a violent man and often beat him and his mother. His father believed that women were meant to serve men.

His suicide letter claimed political motives and blamed feminists for ruining his life. His letter listed 19 women he wanted to kill just for their feminism.

Psychiatrists concluded that Marc had a serious personality disorder, and difficulties dealing with failure, possibly psychotic and lost touch with reality to forget his absent and abusive father while at the same time unconsciously identifying with a violent manhood that dominates women. He may have blamed feminism as a way to punish his mother who was absent when she tried to pursue a career. Or this was one big hate crime. Who can tell?

Doesn’t sound like he fell off the deep end due to his atheism. Looks like a open and closed case of horrible upbringing turned mental case who took his anger on people who he blamed for his crappy life.

4) So a Christian soldier is standing up to a Christian soldier with a gun to defend the lives of Jewish soldiers. Theists fighting theists to protect theists. Goes to show that theism doesn’t provide a solution to ending violence.

5) Sounds almost exactly what God told Moses and the Israelites in Numbers 31. Attack and pillage the Midianites towns, kill them all but take their virgin women and rape them.

Recall Ariel Castro? The Christian who kidnapped 3 women, imprisoned them and raped them for 10 YEARS?

Now I don’t know if religion caused the Castro brothers to do these horrific acts (it’s possible) but the point I wish to drive home is this: it’s hypocritical for Christians to wag their fingers at Ariel Castro for kidnapping and raping while their beloved Bible says God’s most righteous men did the same thing on a much larger scale. You can debate Castro’s faith and fling the “No True Scotsman” fallacy around all day, but Christians cannot deny the faith of Moses and the Israelites who were given God’s permission to kill and rape.

Furthermore, it is hypocritical of Lurie or any Christian to paint Islam as violent religion because ISIS members kidnap and rape women while ignoring that the Bible they believe to be “God’s true word” okays the same horrendous acts when God permits it. Maybe, if we want to be logically consistent, we can agree both the Qur’an and the Bible have parts in them that justify this behavior. If that makes one of them bad, then both of them are bad.

Lurie later goes on to say that atheism leads to mayhem or at best, withers away the freedoms of innovation, freedom and justice. He also states that not even a “godless individual” will know what is “right” without the “moral code that the Judeo-Christian ethic created.” (pg. 35)

The “Judeo-Christian ethnic” isn’t the center of morality, that is a ethical and historical fact. Every recorded civilization dating back to the cradle of civilization (Sumer) has recorded code – the Code of Ur-Nammu. Here are some of the laws:

  • 1. If a man commits a murder, that man must be killed.
  • 2. If a man commits a robbery, he will be killed.
  • 3. If a man commits a kidnapping, he is to be imprisoned and pay 15 shekels of silver.

So somehow, the Sumerians figured out that murder and theft was wrong about a thousand years before the mythical Moses ever chiseled a word onto a rock. (And look at that, kidnapping made it to their top 3.)

While there are moral laws within the Torah, these moral laws didn’t originate from the Israelites. Rather, they inserted morals into their faith, morals which people already had. Plus the Israelites borrowed elements from the “pagan” laws. One example, the famous “eye for an eye” didn’t originate with the Torah, but with the Code of Hammurabi centuries before Judaism was ever formed. Thus, if one wished to use the same lame logic used by Lurie, one could argue that the “Judeo-Christian ethic” borrows from paganism.

Bottom line, the idea that “Judeo-Christian ethic” is the originator of morals is complete BS, as well as the idea that atheists can only figure out what is “right” through the Judeo-Christian ethic. Nothing could be further from the truth, unless you happen to be a Christian Atheist (yeah, those are a real thing). Claiming that Judeo-Christian ethic is the originator of morals is as wrong and ridiculous as claiming English is the originator of grammar.

Murder By Numbers

In this section, Lurie doesn’t try to argue that atheism isn’t true, rather he just wants to argue that, as the title of the book states, atheism kills people. His entire case rests on equating atheism with communism as if they are two sides of the same coin. Spoiler: they’re not.

One key thing to remember, despite whether atheism is correct or false isn’t determined by death tolls. Just as Christianity is not proven correct or false based on death tolls. The EVIDENCE determines whether something is true or not. And since Lurie has no intentions in this book to provide evidence for a “god” of any kind, this whole section of Lurie playing number games is 1) a waste of time because it is fallacious and 2) a manipulative move to persuade readers emotionally instead on evidence.

Communism took hold—a devoutly godless approach to government.” (pg. 37)

Communism isn’t a devoutly godless approach. I’m going to nip this in the bud right now: Communism is not based on an atheistic ideology.

The lie that atheists are communists, or communism is based on atheistic ideology is 100% false. Epicureanism and Stoicism is based on atheistic ideology. A common complain made by theists, typically conservative Christians, is that atheism and/or humanism are essentially socialist or communist by nature. Communism is not, however, inherently atheistic. Some communists have been taught to be atheists, but becoming an atheist doesn’t affect your politics. It is possible to hold communistic or socialist economic views while being a theist and it isn’t at all uncommon to be an atheist while staunchly defending capitalism.

Linking atheism and communism is simply an attempted political smear, not a serious engagement with atheism. Part of this may be based on the historical linkage between Communism and Atheism. Most Communists are Atheists. But many people do not realize that most Atheists in North America and Europe are not Communists. In what way is atheism useful to communism? It isn’t. The point is that religion provides an alternative source of authority and moral teachings. A communist or any totalitarian regime wants all authority, morality and virtue to come from the party and the people following the party’s guidance.

Most of Stalinist violence resulted from forced collectivization, and recently published documents show the complicity of church authorities in the Stalinist agenda. Moreover, communism, in the sense of a system of collectivized property, is a biblical notion already found in Acts 4:32-27. That Christian communist system also results in the killing of a married couple (Acts 5:1-11) that reneged on their promise to surrender their property. Thus, the principle of killing those who did not conform to collectivization of property is already a biblical one. The defense that it was simply lying about turning over property that was the motive for the deaths of Ananias and Sapphira overlooks the brute fact that the value of life was put below handing over all their property. For instead of just being expelled, they were killed. Stalin or Mao probably would have done the same thing. Since communism is advocated by some biblical authors, then Maoist and Stalinist deaths cannot simply be attributed to atheism, as enforcing collectivization can be deadly in both atheist or Christian forms.

Pointing out that the book of Acts 2, 4, and 5 promote communism isn’t to blame Christianity for inventing communism (familiarize yourself with history and you’ll see even pagans or the ancient hunter-gatherers practiced communism) but the point is to drive home that communism isn’t an invention of atheism. Communism is communism, just leave it at that, but Lurie cannot rationally or logically argue that atheism always leads to communism when historically speaking that is not the case. Atheism isn’t a belief system like Christianity, therefore atheism can’t lead to anything in particular. In the worst case, Christianity can lead to a theocracy, and Islam can lead to a caliphate, but atheism can lead to…. nothing. Think of it like “not believing in mermaids” or “not collecting stamps” doesn’t lead to communism or capitalism, it doesn’t lead to anything. Atheists don’t advocate for political ideologies based on atheism, they base their political ideologies on politics. So if you want to argue against communism, argue on the grounds of communism as a functional economic ideology.

And so communism—and fascism—set about on its mission to make God disappear. But in its process of doing so, it diminished freedom, justice, and the individual.” (pg. 38)

Communism itself is not on a mission to make God disappear, that nonsense is disproven by the book of Acts and the existence of Christian Communists (Google it, they exist).

Fascism isn’t on a mission to make God disappear…. because Christianity IS fascistic.

Christianity and Fascism share the following core attributes:
a) You must obey or be punished.
b) No independent thoughts or free speech. Only conformity is allowed.
c) Your ruler is to be feared, for fear keeps you obedient to authority.
d) The use of fear and guilt as psychological control mechanisms.
e) The view that the individual is weak and powerless, and his/her life is without purpose unless aligned to serve a “higher power” or “collective.” (e.g. God, state or dictator).

What this means is that you cannot be a devout dogmatic Christian and believe in freedom or free choice at the same time. And if you do, then you are a hypocrite. The religious doctrines of the Bible clearly declare that anything less than complete obedience and subservience to God and his will is sin and deserves nothing less than death and damnation, according to God’s law. To do what you want rather than submit to God’s will is seen as rebellion and sin against God. The Bible is clear on this.

And so, the Christian religion diminishes the freedom and justice of the individual. Ask yourself, under Christian theology, are you free to believe whatever other religion you want? In America, and in hundreds of other countries, you have that right and freedom to believe and practice whichever religion you wish, but in God’s eyes, you don’t. You either submit to his particular religion or you BURN. And what justice is that for the individual? You can be a good man like Ghandi, devote your whole life for the betterment of your people, but ultimately no matter how good you are, if you don’t believe in Jesus, off you go to the worst torture chamber beyond all imagination. What justice is that? Punished for your beliefs instead of your actions and life.

God is like ISIS. They don’t care if you are a good man or woman, they only care what you believe, and if you don’t submit to their faith, off goes your head. If we can acknowledge the injustice of that, we can acknowledge the injustice of the Christian theology.

Soon enough, it would embark upon the greatest murder spree history had ever seen. Butchery, murder, torture, enslavement, theft, rape and every other degradation and humiliation became routine and acceptable tools.” (pg. 38)

Realizing it or not, Lurie just described the history of Christianity perfectly.

Lurie then wants to see which has the larger body count: Judaism and Christianity against all atheist movements, governments and leaders.

Sure, let’s judge the atheist movements during the time where the planet’s population was over 1 billion and after humans invented machine guns and bombs.

This is such a weasel tactic. The world population didn’t ding at 1 billion until 1804, which means before then there was far less people the further back you go. So when the Crusades kicked off, an estimate of 1.7 million died when they ended in 1291. That’s pretty big, but keep in mind that by the time the crusades ended after 200 years, in 1291 CE the world population was estimated to be 360 million (to give you comparison, the US population now is 326 million and Poland has almost 38 million. So try to picture the USA plus Poland as the only countries in the whole world). Whereas by the era of Stalin where 20 million died, the world population was just over 2 billion.

Do the ratios between those alone, you’ll see that the Crusades killed as much as Stalin did. And the Crusaders only had swords and bows and arrows… imagine if they had machine guns. I know, frightening thought. If they had more deadly weapons, no doubt more would have slaughtered. But Stalin’s men had guns, in a world that had almost 6 times more people then the time of the Crusades. So it makes sense that Stalin’s reign would’ve produced a lot more bodies than the Crusades, but in comparison, they were pretty much equal in death and mayhem.

Btw, while Stalin was an evil prick who killed a lot off people, though if we look at the big picture the majority of people who died under Stalin was because of famines, along with other things like deportations. Same for Mao, according to historian Frank Dikötter, of the mass murders under Mao, almost half of them (45 million) were the result of famines. Famines and droughts are common in Russia, occurring ever 10-13 years. Whether the Soviets caused both of them or were capable of feeding the populace is still being debated. But regardless, if we started to consistently judge every Christian nation going back to the Holy Roman Empire by the same criteria of deaths by famine, the death tolls by Christianity (or even just theism) would sky rocket. Example, two famines hit Catholic France between 1693 and 1710 under the rule of King Louis XIV, aka the “God-Given,” where the death toll is estimated to be 2 million. That’s more deaths than the result of the Crusades, and still before 1804 when the world pop. was 1 billion. It was so bad French armies seized food storage’s for themselves and King Louis invaded an English island just for their food. (Oh, and Louis revoked the protection rights of Huguenots in 1685, causing them to flee France or convert to Catholicism). Just remember this point later on when counting the body tolls: if we also count things like death by natural disasters or deportations instead of just specifically State Killings and executions, the body count for Theists would be much higher. But personally, I’m going to stick with just religious killings.

The Atheist Killings

Stalin and Mao were most assuredly atheists, but were their crimes against humanity really the result of their atheism? There is no evidence for such an assumption, and it seems much more likely that the atrocities they committed followed from their totalitarian style of leadership, which demanded obedience to the state almost as fanatically as religions demand obedience to a god. Stalin and Mao killed without mercy to consolidate their power, with little to no regard for the religious beliefs (or lack thereof) that the victims professed.

There is a much simpler answer to all of this though, and once again it has to do with the definition of atheism. As I noted above, atheism is the rejection of theism and nothing further. Anything to do with reasons for disbelief or the strength of conviction in disbelief is relative to each individual, by no means inherent to atheism. There is no logical progression that leads from the lack of belief in god(s) to totalitarianism and the slaughter of countless innocents. The atheism of Stalin and Mao is an unsubstantiated correlation with the mass-murder they committed, and it is just as coincidental as the fact that they were both men. Atheism can have no atrocities, because nothing can be done in its name. It is not an ideology, belief system, or anything of the sort.

Starts with the French Revolution. Body count, between 20,000 – 40,000

Stalin. Body count: at least 20 million.

Mao. Body count: estimates between 30 and 70 million.

Fidel Castro. Body Count: estimates between 35,000 to 141,000.

Che Guevara. Body count: hundreds

Ceauşescu. Body count: 50,000

Marshall Josip Broz Tito. Body count: 500,000

Ho Chi Minh. Body count: estimate 500,000

Pol Pot. Body count: 2,000,000

Kim Il-sung. Body count: 1,300,000

Benito Mussolini. Body count:

Total body count due to atheism: 0

In Ch. 3 in this book, Lurie says “Indeed, it is atheism that is the relatively recent arrival of the past 150 years or so.” Oh, okay. Even if we high ball that to 200, that would still mean the French Revolution wasn’t committed by atheists.

Okay, I know that was nitpicking, I’m a history buff so dates matter to me. Most of deaths and violence caused by Stalin and others were resulted from forced collectivization. Recent published documents show the complicity of church authorities in the Stalinist agenda.(Tatiana A. Chumachenko, ”Church and State in Soviet Russian: Russian Orthodoxy from World War II to the Krushchev Years”, trans. Edward E. Roslof (Armonk, NY: M. E. Sharpe, 2002).) Lurie does not post single documentation or statement by Stalin that shows that he was collectivizing or killing for atheist reasons.

As much as Lurie tries to portray atheism as more wicked than Christianity due to dead-body count, the main cause for all the deaths in Soviet Russian and Communist China was due to communism, not atheism. Communism, in the sense of a system of collectivized property, is a biblical notion already found in Acts 4:27-32. That Christian communist system also resulted in the killing of a married couple (Acts 5:1-11) that reneged on their promise to surrender their property. Thus, the principle of killing those who did not conform to collectivization of property is already a biblical one, an ideal that predates Karl Marx and is within the pages of God’s perfect Word. The defense that it was simply lying about turning over their property that was the motive for the deaths of Ananias and Sapphira overlooks the brute fact that the value of life was put below handing over all their property. For instead of just being expelled, they were killed. Stalin or Mao probably would have done the same thing. Since communism is advocated by some biblical authors, then Maoist and Stalinist deaths cannot simply be attributed to atheism, as enforcing collectivization can be deadly in both atheist or Christian forms.

Marx on Atheism: “Atheism as a denial of this unreality; has no longer any meaning, for atheism is a denial of God and tries to assert through this negation the existence of man; but socialism as such no longer needs this mediation…” Karl Marx, Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts in Karl Marx’s Early Texts, D. McLellan, Trans. & Ed., Oxford, Blackwell, 1971, pp. 156-157

“And the real fascists knew that they were on the political left.” (pg. 58)

False. The New Deal was seen by the radical American left as the best hope to mobilize America in preparations for a fight against European fascism, which was always something that far left political groups were more concerned about than the average citizen. During the early and mid 1930s the average American citizen was not overly concerned with the goings on in Europe, and in fact many supported the Fascist regimes there because of their anti-Communist and pro-order policies, but the far American left was acutely aware of the magnitude of the problems in Europe and was opposed to the Fascist regimes from the start, because of course the Fascists were anti-leftist regimes.

Adolf Hitler. Body count: 11,000,000

[Hitler] dedicated himself to only one overall mission: destroy God and anyone who supported Him.” He later says, “Hitler was no Christian and never acted as a Christian. Adolf Hitler was godless. And he did what all the other godless leaders had done: mass killings on an epic scale.” (pg. 67)

Throughout this bit, Lurie argues that Hitler lied again and again about being a Christian. Lurie offers several quotes that make Hitler appear to seek out to destroy Christianity, such as from Hitler’s Table Talk….. a collection that has been refuted many times as unreliable. See here and here for more details demonstrating everything wrong with the Table Talk.

It seems every time when theists try to make a case that Hitler was anti-Christian, they often cite snippets of quotes that appear to give their case credibility… what they often miss is that Hitler was opposed to Christian sects that opposed the Nazi’s religious sect of Positive Christianity. Think of it as Martin Luther, even though he created his own branch of Christianity, heavily criticized Catholicism, and wrote books expressing strong antisemitism views that would create centuries of lies and blood libels toward the Jews all across Europe, that does not mean Martin Luther was anti-Christian. No, we still call Martin Luther a Christian, so to claim Hitler was not a Christian for doing what Luther did is a huge double standard.

Interestingly, Lurie’s sites Yehuda Bauer and one of Lurie’s sources cites William A. Donohue…. both of whom argue that Hitler was a neo-pagan and, yet Lurie tries to paint Hitler as an atheist. WTF? Pagans are not atheists. How is it that Lurie, who claims to have been an atheist once-upon-a-time fail to understand that? The only explanation is that Lurie couldn’t have been an atheist, given that he has no idea that atheists and pagans are two distinctly different things.

So, okay, even if we settle that Hitler wasn’t a Christian and rather a pagan, then we can 11,000,000 body count to the death by pagan…. but Lurie says puts the blame of a pagan killing a lot of people on atheism???

On page 64, Lurie himself says “Indeed, his true and seemingly consistent belief appeared to be pantheistic,” and yet Lurie wants to equate the belief that there is a god (the universe) with the lack of belief in any god?? The mental gymnastics of Lurie is astounding.

The Religious killings

Spanish Inquisitions. Body count: 3,000 – 5,000

The Crusades. Body count: 1,000,000

Salem Witch Trials. Body count: 19

Christian anti-semitism and pogroms. Body Count: 7,500

The KKK. Body Count: 3,446

Religious Wars – Huguenot wars (3 million), 30 years war (8 million) St. Bartholomew’s Massacre (5,000 – 30,000) — btw, 17th century 30 years’ war (Catholic vs. Protestant): at least 40% of population decimated, mostly in Germany.

Curiously, Lurie forgot to include the following:

Since Lurie brought up the Nazis and portrayed them as a regime against Christianity, he seems to be oblivious to what happened in Croatia. In the years 1942-1943, Croatia there was run by the ultranationalist Catholic Ustaše under their dictator Ante Paveli, a practicing Catholic and regular visitor to the then pope. If the German Nazis and Italian fascists were so anti-Christian, they could have installed their own SS puppets in all positions of power, but instead they granted the Ustaše to make Croatia an independent state that was strongly Roman Catholic as well as friendly to Islam. In Croatia, there were numerous extermination camps. There were even concentration camps exclusively for children!

In these camps (the most notorious was Jasenovac, headed by a Franciscan friar, Miroslav Filipović-Majstorović, who wore his priestly garbs when he was captured by the communists and executed) orthodox-Christian serbians (and a substantial number of Jews) were murdered. Like the Nazis the Catholic Ustasha burned their victims in kilns, alive (the Nazis were decent enough to have their victims gassed first). But most of the victims were simply stabbed, slain or shot to death, the number of them being estimated between 300,000 and 700,000, in a rather tiny country. Many of the killers were Franciscan friars. The atrocities were appalling enough to induce bystanders of the Nazi “Sicherheitsdient der SS”, watching, to complain about them to Hitler (who did not listen). The pope knew about these events and did nothing to prevent them.

Like I said earlier, I’m not going to count deaths by famines or natural disasters within Christian nations. Rather I’ll focus on religious killings or genocides fueled by religion. More things that Lurie left out:

  • The Rwanda genocide
  • The genocide of the Native Americans and indigenous people throughout the New World – from Columbus, the conquistadors, the frontier men, Andrew Jackson, and Manifest Destiny.
  • The campaign of Charlemagne in the Saxon Wars; in 719 CE he ordered anyone who refused to be baptized to be killed (he also issued the death penalty to anyone who failed to keep Christian festivals; forbid cremating the dead; or to anyone showing hostility toward Christianity). 4500 Saxon Nobles were beheaded in just one day in Verden (Germany) for refusing to convert to Christianity (plus he destroyed the Irminsul, an important pagan object). The last heathen resistance was crushed in 804 CE. In 30 years of genocide, it’s estimated 2/3 of Saxons were killed. Charlemagne was a wildly controversial figure for centuries… until Adolf Hitler “rehabilitated” him.
  • 15th century Poland: 1019 churches and 17987 villages plundered by Knights of the Order. Victims unknown. Estimates possibly at a 100,000.
  • The Cromwellian conquest of Ireland to “pacify” the land of the “wild Irish” who lived without God.
  • The Armenian genocide
  • Battle of Askalon, 8/12/1099. 200,000 heathens slaughtered “in the name of Our Lord Jesus Christ”
  • World-wide colonialism – think of how many indigenous people died at the hands of Christian colonialists and conquistadors.
  • Democide of Australians
  • The persecution of pagans under the Constantine Empire; the persecution of the German pagans under Frankish rule from 5th to 8th century

Not to mention the deaths caused by modern Christian groups such as:

  • The Neo-Nazis
  • The Army of God
  • The Covenant, The Sword, and the Arm of the Lord
  • Central African Republic
  • The NLFT
  • The Aryan Nations

And this is only counting deaths caused by Christians, we haven’t counted the death tolls caused by other religions yet.

Lurie notes, “

Merely calling yourself a “Christian” organization does not make it so, nor what you do “Christian.”

The atheist will also have a tough time finding a minister, reverend or priest who advocated that what the KKK did was Christian.” (pg. 72)

A) No True Scotsman Fallacy. I could argue that Lenin and his party were not atheist’s, but I’m not going to do that. If an atheist walks into a church and kills a bunch of people, I’m not going to say that person is not an atheist. This is why I didn’t want to join “Atheism+” because I feared people would jump on the Scotsman Fallacy bandwagon like most theists already do (“that guy did something bad? And he’s an atheist? But he wasn’t a member of Atheism+ therefore he’s not a real atheist!!!”). Screw that, I for one prefer my thoughts to be free of as many fallacies as possible.

B) The KKK themselves are Christians with ministers who claim they are Christians. In fact, many ministers have been active KKK members. Protestant ministers were offered free membership.

Tally

Body count due to communism: tens of millions

Body count due to atheism: 0 (if Lurie could produce an atheist who claimed that they killed others because of their lack of belief, I would count that. But none are given in this book, just communist dictators killing to protect their power)

Religious: under 13 million

So what do we have here, a whole section of a book wasted by a guy and his team too dumb to realize that communism and atheism are not the same thing. And given that we know that people die under Biblical communism from the book of Acts, we would have a huge body count regardless if those communist dictators were atheists or theists, therefore the underlining factor is communism and force collectivism, not atheism.

Not to mention, this isn’t atheism vs. Christianity and Judaism, it’s atheism vs theism. So to exclude all other religions from this tally of “# killed by religion” is fallacious.

The fighting between regions that has plagued nations for millennia to modern times, and I’m not just talking about jihadists. These examples are going on right now: Palestine (Jews vs. Muslims), the Balkans (Orthodox Serbians vs. Catholic Croatians; Orthodox Serbians vs. Bosnian and Albanian Muslims), Northern Ireland (Protestants vs. Catholics), Kashmir (Muslims vs. Hindus), Sudan (Muslims vs. Christians and animists (this long civil war is occurring in the Darfur region)), Nigeria (Muslims vs. Christians), Ethiopia and Eritrea (Muslims vs. Christians), Ivory Coast (Muslims vs. Christians), Sri Lanka (Sinhalese Buddhists vs. Tamil Hindus), Philippines (Muslims vs. Christians) Iran and Iraq (Shiite vs. Sunni Muslims), and the Caucasus (Orthodox Russians vs. Chechen Muslims; Muslim Azerbaijanis vs. Catholic and Orthodox Armenians) are merely a few, recent cases. Now try to picture how bad it must have been throughout history. Think of the pile of bodies left by the routine religious practice of human sacrifice from monotheistic or polytheistic religions. Think of the ancient religious wars (in just the Bible alone, it includes numerous genocides committed by the Israelites in the Bible, all sanctioned by God and commanded by God.)

Lurie goes on to say that “godlessness” has done nothing to advance civilization nor created any hospitals, art, music, architecture, schools, or universities. “It didn’t even create a YMCA.”

A) Godlessness is not an ideology, just as not collecting stamps isn’t a hobby.

B) Question: how many hospitals has Barak Lurie ever created?….. Yeah, that’s what I thought.

The oldest American hospital in existence is New York’s famed Bellevue hospital, established in 1736. The hospital, initially a six-bed hospital, was not created by any religious institution but was a municipal hospital created by a secular, non-religious government.

The religious weren’t in any rush to create any institutions for public welfare. Ben Franklin, inventor, ambassador to France and Founding Father managed to find more time than the entire American religious industry to develop the first fire department, public library, and even another hospital (founded in 1751). The first university was created in Franklin’s town of Philadelphia as well. America’s first university was not religious either. Rather than being another center for educating clergy as in old European universities, this university (University of Pennsylvania, established in 1751) would train students for careers in business and public service.

Speaking of Philadelphia, in 1793 there was an outbreak of yellow fever. Although many other well-to-do citizens chose to leave the city, atheist and philanthropist Stephen Girard stayed to care for the sick and dying. He supervised the conversion of a mansion outside the city limits into a hospital. For his efforts, Girard was feted as a hero by the Philadelphia City Hall after the outbreak subsided.

Over 200 years after America gained Independence, as of 1999, 13% of all hospitals were religious (totaling 18% of all hospital beds); that’s 604 out of 4,573 hospitals. Despite the religious label, these so-called religious hospitals are more public than public hospitals. Religious hospitals get 36% of all their revenue from Medicare; public hospitals get only 27%. In addition to that 36% of public funding they get 12% of their funding from Medicaid. Of the remaining 44% of funding, 31% comes from county appropriations, 30% comes from investments, and only 5% comes from charitable contributions (not necessarily religious). The percentage of Church funding for Church-run hospitals comes to a grand total of 0.0015 percent. (Uttley, L. J, “No strings attached: Public funding of religiously-sponsored hospitals in the United States,” Mergerwatch, 2002, p.10-15.) The claim that the religious build hospitals gives the illusion that the religious are more charitable than the secular, non-religious. With hospitals, at least, that isn’t the case.

Robert Ingersoll’s response to the question, “What hospitals have Atheists built?” is surprisingly relevant over a hundred years later. Despite European Christians being on the American continent for hundreds of years, they have been lacking in providing the medical charity they are credited for. The answer to the question “How many American hospitals have Atheists built?” is “All of them.”

Of the 13% of religious hospitals, all of them are maintained by public funds. Those public funds are not paid for exclusively by the religious, they certainly aren’t supported by American churches. If the religious hospitals were to be truly religious and separated from secular governmental subsidies they would collapse. The question that the Christian apologist should be asked is, “Where are all the truly religious hospitals?” Slapping a Catholic or Methodist label upon a hospital wall isn’t sufficient enough to create a truly independent, private religious hospital free from Atheist support.

C) No atheist art? Try again.

(Seriously, just Google “Atheist Art” and see for yourself)

D) No atheist music? Dude needs to listen to some Greydon Square (a black atheist and veteran – a living example of an atheist willing to fight in the military for America). Try listening to Shelly Segal, she’s fantastic. Listen to Dan Barker! He was one of America’s biggest evangelicals who loved to write Christian songs, now he’s co-president of the largest atheist organization in America, and he still loves to produce music.

Ever heard of Bad Religion? They are a punk bad from Los Angeles, and their lead singer (Greg Graffin) teaches life sciences and paleontology at UCLA… the very same college Barak Lurie went to to get his Law degree. That just goes to show how much of a bubble Lurie is living in.

Hell, there is even a band called Atheist, their fist album “Piece of Time” came out in 1989!

Atheism and the Birth of the Abortion Culture

In this section, Lurie tries to make abortion the fault of godlessness.

Somebody needs to read Numbers 5. What happens in Numbers 5? I’ll tell you: if an Israelite man suspects his pregnant wife cheated on him and the child isn’t his, he is to take her to Temple. There the priest is to brew up a potion had have God bless it (so God is involved here). The wife drinks it. If nothing happens, then she has been faithful (btw there is no rule that says she’s demanded anything, not even an apology from her suspicious husband). But if her belly swells and her “thigh” rots (back then, the Jews though a fetus was a woman’s thigh (Sanhedrin 80b of the Talmud)) and she bloats (in other words, miscarries) then she is guilty of adultery. Bottom line: God permits abortion.

The Babylonian Talmud 69B says the embryo is considered mere water until the 40th day, and even after that for a time it’s not considered a fully living being. Rashi, the great 12th century commentator on the Bible and Talmud states clearly that the fetus is not a person until it is born. The pivotal Rabbinical text on abortion is found in Mishnah Oholot 7.6, if a woman’s life is in danger, the baby is to be cut out because the woman’s life takes priority over the child.

Tell me again that atheists created an abortion culture.

Numerous Christian denominations and religious groups agree that the bible does not condemn abortion and that abortion should continue to be legal. These include:

  • American Baptist Churches-USA
  • American Ethical Union
  • American Friends (Quaker) Service Committee
  • American Jewish Congress
  • Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
  • Episcopal Church
  • Lutheran Women’s Caucus
  • Moravian Church in America-Northern Province
  • Presbyterian Church (USA)
  • Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints
  • Union of American Hebrew Congregations
  • Unitarian Universalist Association
  • United Church of Christ
  • United Methodist Church
  • United Synagogue of America
  • Women’s Caucus Church of the Brethren
  • YWCA
  • Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice
  • Catholics for Free Choice
  • Evangelicals for Choice

Belief that “a human being exists at conception” is a matter of faith, not fact. Legislating antiabortion faith would be as immoral and un-American as passing a law that all citizens must attend Catholic mass!

Lurie basically uses a lot of stats from communist countries that issued forced abortions… as if Christian churches and groups never issued forced abortions.

Lurie’s argument leads to this key case: America realizes morality is a moral issue, not a “common good,” and America gives people the option to debate the morality of abortion rather than forcing people to have abortions.

Oh how sweet.

Not only does the Bible have it’s own promotion of abortion culture, it gets worse for little children that survived abortion.

You can kill a child for disobedience.

Spare the rod, spoil the child.

Right-wing Christians want to abolish work labor laws. Examples: Republican Sen. Mike Lee of Utah said that Congressional laws banning child labor are forbidden by the US Constitution despite the fact that the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 was unanimously upheld by the Supreme Court in 1941 (United States v. Darby Lumber). (A similar movement happened in Missouri where State Sen. Jane Cunningham (R) has introduced a bill [S.B. 222] to minimize child labor laws)

Christians against sex-education leading to Christians having the highest rates of abortions. This “repeat teen pregnancy” culture wasn’t created by atheists, it was created by Christians. Isn’t there a phrase about chickens and roosting?

Right-wing Christians want to abolish any welfare programs that these kids need, thus created unnecessary stress for parents and children as well as ultimately kill the middle class.

If you look at the legislations pushed by Tea-Partiers collectively to see the big picture, this is what a right-wing Christian Reconstructionist Utopia would look like:

 

Guilt by Association?

Here Lurie tries to argue that atheists can be judged collectively like a monolith. He notes that atheists do this all the time in regards to Christians and the Inquisitions, Crusades, the Salem Witch trials, etc.

Here’s the thing, each of those were done by Christians in the name of the Christian God. All those deaths that Lurie listed earlier caused by communists were done so in the name of communism and dictators trying to protect their power, not in the name of atheism. So to argue “but atheists do it too” is fallaciously comparing apples to oranges.

If Jihadists claim they kill in the name of Allah, we (even Lurie) can conclude their religion is a driving factor to kill “infidels, sinners and apostates.” If Christians kill people in the name of Jesus, we can consistently conclude that Christians are driven by their faith to kill people. Whereas atheists, we need proof that their atheism was the driving factor to commit any crime. If an atheist kills a pastor, was it because their atheism dictated them to do so, or perhaps was it politically driven because the pastor was deemed an “enemy of the State”?

Now if Christians kill people, do I use the “guilt by association” fallacy? NO.

I know that the majority of Christians are good people, yet they praise a book that permits slavery. It is the Bible and theism that is the target of my criticisms, not theists. As Christians love to say “hate the sin, love the sinner,” I can say “hate the belief, not the believer.”

Lurie on the other hand admits that atheists can be good, but…..

Then Lurie says this: “The atheist is partially correct: not all ruthless dictators are atheists. And of course, he’s right: being an atheist alone doesn’t make you a killer. Being an atheist alone doesn’t even make you a bad or mean person. But being an atheist dictator advancing an atheist doctrine has always led to brutality and killings. In other words, give power to the atheist doctrine and horrible things seem to happen.” (pg. 76)

Again, communism isn’t an “atheist doctrine,” read the book of Acts — the gospels came up with forced collectivism centuries and centuries before Karl Marx and Stalin. This isn’t to blame Christianity for communism (even pagans or the ancient hunter-gatherers practiced communism) but the point is to drive home that communism isn’t an invention of atheism. Communism is communism, just leave it at that.

So Lurie doesn’t say that all atheists are bad (that’s a start), he just wants them to not have any power because he fears that atheists always pursue communism.

And that is where Lurie and I differ. I don’t mind Christians being in power. Hell, I voted Christians into power several times. I am not bigoted against all Christians, I acknowledge that giving them power will not lead to a theocracy. Just like a lot of Christians, plenty of candidates take their religion very liberally or far less seriously than some people. (Thanks Obama)

That being said, of course there are certain Christians I would never want to be in power…

Whereas Lurie warns his readers to never give atheists power because of his prejudice that atheists will push for communism. I prove this doesn’t happen in Ch. 3 “No Higher Power.” There a many atheist leaders elected into power who never advocated for communism, that’s because not all atheists are communists, just as not all communists are atheists (key fact: Christian Communists exist. Don’t take my word for it, look it up). Therefore, to scare people to not let an atheist have power is a form of oppressive propaganda, just like when Christians warned America to not let a homosexual into office otherwise they will legally outlaw heterosexuality.

To sum up: I oppose religion and faith, but I am not opposed to elected religious people into power, because I can see past that. That doesn’t mean I’ll vote for the first atheist candidate on the ballot because I care about policies, not whether a candidate prays or not. If an atheist campaigns on the promise he will outlaw all religions, he won’t get my vote because I respect the right to believe whatever religion a person wants. But Lurie, like he’s living in the Red Scare, is afraid of atheists obtaining power because he thinks we are all communists. And that is a prejudice. I know that while the book of Acts advocates communism, I know damn well that not all Christians are communists. I take issue with faith as a failed epistemology; holy books advocating everything from forced collectivism to slavery; and Christianities tenets that reflect their whole beliefs, but that doesn’t mean “all Christians are guilty by association” because some Christians supported slavery and communism. But it does go to show that Christianity is a useless set of beliefs in regards of failing to provide a clear-cut moral compass.

The reason, as we can see from the one commonality of all the atheists we’ve described above, is that a doctrine which roots itself on the rejection of the Judeo-Christian God (whether it is fascism, communism, or Nazism) requires that all be on board with the program. Everyone. If you are not with the program, you disappear.” (pg. 76)

That has been Christianities doctrine for millennia: join us or be damned. Even liberal Christians who don’t believe in a literal Hell still say that anyone who dies and doesn’t go to Heaven will still suffer in some shape or form. It’s just something that Christians have a hard time escaping because the Christian faith is fascist. Even if they believe that unsaved sinners just disappear from existence with no trace left, they still praise a book that says those who don’t believe in Jesus are like withered branches that are gathered up and “burned.” (Only physical things burn, things annihilated from existence don’t burn. And the Bible says the former happens, and the Bible is the final authority according to theists.)

Christianity and Fascism share the following core attributes:

a) You must obey or be punished.
b) No independent thoughts or free speech. Only conformity is allowed.
c) Your ruler is to be feared, for fear keeps you obedient to authority.
d) The use of fear and guilt as psychological control mechanisms.
e) The view that the individual is weak and powerless, and his/her life is without purpose unless aligned to serve a “higher power” or “collective.” (e.g. God, state or dictator).

What this means is that you cannot be a devout Christian and believe in freedom or free choice at the same time. And if you do, then you are a hypocrite. Your religious doctrines and Bible clearly declare that anything less than complete obedience and subservience to God’s will is sin and deserves nothing less than death and damnation, according to God’s law. To do what you want rather than submit to God’s will is seen as rebellion and sin against God. The Bible is clear on this.

Throughout the Bible, one simple message is consistent: OBEY GOD OR DIE! And in the New Testament, this has been modified as: Believe or be eternally damned to the worst torture chamber beyond imagination!

Ask yourself this: If you went into a typical Christian Bible-believing church and told the minister, “I am a born again Christian who loves Jesus, but I don’t agree with everything God says in the Bible, nor do I think God’s actions were always right.” do you think he would say, “That’s ok. You don’t have to agree with God on everything. Just love him and love others. That’s all he wants you to do.” HELL NO! The minister would give you a lecture and tell you that YOU ARE WRONG, because God is the definition of morality and whatever he does must be right, just and perfect, and that you have no right to question him because you are just a mere creation while he is the creator.

As for Nazism, it was a huge proponent of Positive Christianity and actively hated and fought against “godless” communism.

Lurie then addresses the criticism that dictators have been theists too. Lurie admits that has happened, but he notes that theistic dictators who “truly ruled with a sense that they ultimately had to answer to a higher being (the various kings, queens, and emperors of Europe, for example) understood that God imposed some responsibilities and boundaries upon them.” (pg. 77)

Tell that to the Native Americans and Rwandans. Tell that to Mohammad.

To the readers, ask yourselves this: would you prefer if Stalin was a theist? Picture Stalin with his hand over the red button that would launch all his nuclear missiles. Would you rather Stalin was a theist who believing that if he killed his enemies he would bee rewarded for eternity in the afterlife, and his men who died as a result of him pressing the button all died fighting for his cause would also all go to paradise. Would you want that kind of man leading the U.S.S.R.? Or would you want a godless man who, despite being a crazed madman drunk with power, at least was held back by the realization that there is no afterlife and starting a nuclear war would eradicate all life on the planet, therefore having the smarts to stay his hand? You may wonder why would that make a crazed madman stay his hand, but don’t forget that as evil as Stalin was, he was still human. And that part of him understood that he wanted to protect his power, his empire, and legacy (and by extension all those he cared about). All of that is destroyed the moment he presses the button, and for someone so hell-bent on safeguarding his power, a person like that won’t throw it away. But if he was a theist, the thought that he, all his men and all those he cared about would be in paradise for eternity would comfort him to the point he just might be okay to press the button. He would send himself, his country men and those he cared for all to a better place, and all his enemies to suffer. It’s a win-win.

Why do you think the Americans are so hell-bent from stopping Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons? Because a religious Muslim leader, esp. one driven by global jihad, will not hesitate to use it. And as history has shown us, the only world leaders who have used a nuclear bomb to kill millions has been a theist leader (a Christian, Pres. Truman). So if we are scared that a Muslim leader getting a nuclear WMD, perhaps we should be dancing around being thankful that Stalin was an atheist and not a theist.

The atheist’s perception of God is that He must be about perfection—whatever “perfection” might mean. In their eyes, because God is perfect, then every human religion that honors Him must be perfect, too.” (pg. 78)

It’s not in the eyes of atheists that “God is perfect,” rather it is the theists who claim that.

Atheism is the rejection of the claim that a God exists, but first we have to hear what God is in order to consider it’s validity. And when Christians tell us that God is perfect, we determine if that makes any sense. So if an atheist claims that if God was perfect then religion should be perfect, it logically follows. Religions are operated by humans, and humans were created by a perfect Being. Therefore, religions are an extension of God. But if religion and humans are imperfect, that means the God character created an imperfection — and therein lies the problem: how does it make any logical sense that a perfect being created something imperfect. It is logically self-contradictory.

Lurie the comments that “Under the atheist’s theory” we should ban “parenthood” because abusive parents exists.

We should ban abusive and neglectful parenthood’s… in fact, we already have. That’s why we have Child Services.

Lurie goes on how things like the judicial systems, school systems, military, and so on have been proven to be corruptible from time to time, and we know the will continue to be, but Lurie argues that we wouldn’t dismantle these institutions, so why dismantle religion?

Because religion is unnecessary. A secular government can and has created judicial systems, schools, military’s, and more.

Progressivism

There is a LOT of history to cover in this section, and Lurie does a piss-poor job at sharing what was going on during FDR’s administration, fascism and WWII. For more in-depth look, please read The Rise of American Fascism for more context. I took key relevant bits out from this article and shared it here, which will be in orange font, mainly because I’m aware people prefer to not go back-and-forth between tabs to fact check.

Lurie claims that Progressivism was forged as a worldview that “embraced collectivism, and many of them looked to the strongman” to which he first mentions Mussolini, a “man of the Left.” Next Lurie notes that Theodore Roosevelt adopted Progressivism and “rejected outright the “old thinking” of the Founding Fathers” by pursuing “German ideals” by making the government do what it thinks is right.

So now the government doing what it thinks is right is a “German ideal”? Is that what the US Government was thinking when it freed the slaves?

A little historical context for President Teddy – around the time of his Presidency, America was becoming more and more industrialized, and laissez-faire practice presented more and more problems. Men like J.P. Morgan, John Rockefeller and Andrew Carnegie owned huge shares of America’s economy. J.P. Morgan was arguably the most powerful man in the country during the height of his career, with far more influence than even the President of the United States. A small handful of men controlled virtually all of the financial capital in the country to the degree that people realized that in many ways the government was not in charge of the country, this small group of private citizens were. These individuals had no oversight or democratic responsibilities – they were beholden, basically, to no one.

However, it was not only the common man that was troubled by the outcome of laissez-faire practice, but increasingly the capitalists themselves were also looking to the State for protection. One example of this was the popular food processor H.J. Heinz’s lobbying and support for the Pure Food and Drug Act of 1906, signed by Teddy Roosevelt. Heinz supported this act not only out of a desire to promote healthy food, which his company already did, but also to legally eliminate competition. The Heinz food company had, at that time, one of the cleanest food product lines in the world, and Heinz helped to ensure that the legislation was written in such a way that the company would already meet the requirements of the act, while the majority of his competition’s products would not meet the requirements. When the act passed many of Heinz’s competitors went out of business because they were unable to make the changes needed to meet the requirements in a cost competitive and timely manner.

This is just one example of the fact that, while the State was taking some power away from private corporations, it was also aiding corporate interests in some cases. This led to an increased closeness between wealthy Americans and government as they realized that the government was something that could work in their interests, but would only be likely to do so if they were actively involved with it.

All of this marked a new role for the State in the American economy and signaled the beginning of the end of laissez-faire practices in ways that both public and private interests would do their best to take full advantage of.

[Progressives] based their ultimate aim of “the State,” the “good” objective on a notion of human excellence or “perfection.” For Progressives, this gave them a sense of entitlement, even a sense of obligation, to treat different races (whom they believed were at varying stages of development), differently in both law and policy.” (pg. 82)

His source? Wikipedia. I’m not kidding.

Before diving into all historical contexts, let me just say that Lurie is a fucking weasel. Comparing 1800’s Progressives to modern day atheists and Progressives is slimy and idiotic, just like saying before 1956, Democrats supported slavery, discrimination and started the KKK. Comparing Democrats then to Democrats now is fallacious, because after 1956 there was a HUGE cultural and political shift, where the conservative Democrats became conservative Republicans, and liberal Republicans became liberal Democrats.

Okay, let’s dive into historical context: the 1800s was the twilight of the Enlightenment era, ergo scientific sociology was a rising star.

But at the same time, fascism was rising in America too. Poverty was a big issue, and the idea that poverty, crime and ignorance are a product of social conditions was a threat to the dominant members of society because the call was for these dominant members of society to reform their ways to create increased equality for all people. And those dominate members put the blame of poverty on race and inferior genes, and thus denouncing the “socialists” were wrong about society’s problems being caused by oppressive economic conditions. This is an ideology that was adopted by many wealthy and upper-class Americans and was related to the development of the ideology of “Social Darwinism.”

In the 1890s Indiana prisons were performing castrations on convicts, both to “cure” them of masturbation, and to prevent them from “breeding more criminals.” Dr. Albert Ochsner advocated the sterilization of convicts “to eliminate all habitual criminals from the possibility of having children.” In 1902 Dr. Harry Clay Sharp stated: “We make choice of the best rams for our sheep… and keep the best dogs… how careful then should we be in begetting of children!” Sharp also advocated that every state institution should “render every male sterile who passes its portals, whether it be an almshouse, insane asylum, institute for the feeble minded, reformatory, or prison.”

In 1902 Blood of a Nation was published in America by David Starr Jordan. Jordan stated that, “The pauper is the victim of heredity, but neither Nature nor Society recognizes that as an excuse for his existence.” Dr. J.N. Hurty, who was State Health Officer of Indiana and also became the president of the American Public Health Association, stated that, “Men and women are what they are largely because of the stock from which they sprang.”

All of this of course stood in stark contrast to the ideas of “leftist” sociologists who were saying that people were born virtually equal and that differences arose from environmental conditions. These people promoted the idea of rehabilitation of prisoners and the changing of economic conditions to promote economic equality and provide greater access to opportunity for those who were born into poverty.

Then we skip ahead to WWII…

Next Lurie notes that FDR was a fan of Mussolini, noting FDR was “impressed” by what Mussolini had accomplished. Next, Lurie notes that NAACP co-founder W. E. B. DuBois viewed the Nazi rise positively, saying that Hitler’s dictatorship had been “absolutely necessary to get the state in order.” New Republic editor George Soule, who avidly supported FDR, noted approvingly that the Roosevelt administration was “trying out the economics of fascism.”

Luries source is an article from DailyCaller, which I checked at provides no links or sources for it’s claims. So I had to do what Lurie couldn’t be bothered to do. The quote comes from a comment FDR made about Benito Mussolini in early 1933 to U.S. Ambassador to Italy Breckinridge Long, as quoted in Three New Deals : Reflections on Roosevelt’s America, Mussolini’s Italy, and Hitler’s Germany, 1933-1939 (2006) by Wolfgang Schivelbusch, p. 31.

Does a President who says he is “impressed” by a foreign leader mean they agree with their political ideologies? Of course not. It’s very complicated, but here’s a bit of context:

Keep this in mind, when the Stock Markets crashed in 1929, the beginning of the Great Depression, it changed American attitudes about the economy. When Roosevelt began work on his economic reforms after his election, he did so with a large team of economists, businessmen, policy makers, and bankers; people from all different perspectives and backgrounds. By the time the Great Depression hit America and FDR had come into office, Benito Mussolini was at the height of his success and many Americans viewed Mussolini’s programs as a proven and successful way to deal with the problems of economic depression.

Like the fascists in Europe, Americans were generally opposed to both Communism and “high finance,” that is to say the extremely powerful capitalists who had come to dominate the American economy, and who many felt had far too much control over American life.

Since the time of Mussolini’s rise to power men like US Ambassador to Italy Henry Fletcher, Secretary of State Frank Kellogg, Charles Lindbergh, State Department head Norman Davis, and many others all agreed that his regime represented “solid opposition to communists, socialists, and anarchists.”

Eleanor Roosevelt wrote that FDR’s appointed American Ambassador to Italy, Breckenridge Long, had been “rhapsodizing about the achievements of Mussolini’s new ‘corporate state’.” (Corporate-State, sound familiar?)

In 1934 the American State Department proclaimed that the 99% victory of the Fascist Party in Italian elections “demonstrate incontestably the popularity of the Fascist regime.”

The State Department, as late as 1937, praised Italian Fascism stating that it “brought order out of chaos, discipline out of license, and solvency out of bankruptcy.” The State Department continued to embrace fascism because of its anti-Communist position.

Eventually, FRD passes his New Deal, which has a few elements of Mussolinis public works programs, the end goal of the New Deal was to increase the role of the State in the economy for the purpose of creating stability, providing security for average citizens and businessmen alike, and to give the government a hand in directing the development of the national economy.

But the Communists and Marxists didn’t like it. They criticized the New Deal for not representing their left-wing socialist ideology. In a 1934 interview of Joseph Stalin by H.G. Wells, Joseph Stalin and H. G. Wells, Marxism VS. Liberalism: An Interview, published in 1937, Stalin explained that what was taking place in America under FDR was not in any way the same thing that was taking place in the U.S.S.R. Stalin stated:

“The United States is pursuing a different aim from that which we are pursuing in the U.S.S.R. The aim which the Americans are pursuing arose out of the economic troubles, out of the economic crisis. The Americans want to rid themselves of the crisis on the basis of private capitalist activity without changing the economic basis. They are trying to reduce to a minimum the ruin, the losses caused by the existing economic system. Here, however, as you know, in place of the old destroyed economic basis an entirely different, a new economic basis has been created. Even if the Americans you mention partly achieve their aim, i.e., reduce these losses to a minimum, they will not destroy the roots of the anarchy which is inherent in the existing capitalist system. They are preserving the economic system which must inevitably lead, and cannot but lead, to anarchy in production. Thus, at best, it will be a matter, not of the reorganization of society, not of abolishing the old social system which gives rise to anarchy and crises, but of restricting certain of its bad features, restricting certain of its excesses. Subjectively, perhaps, these Americans think they are reorganizing society; objectively, however, they are preserving the present basis of society.”

It must be noted that while the Communist Party USA (CPUSA) gave official support to the New Deal and President Roosevelt in 1935, it retracted that support and began opposing FDR in 1939 when the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact, also known as the Soviet-Nazi pact or Stalin-Hitler pact, was signed between the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany.

There is a LOT to cover about Fascism in America and what caused it. For a more in-depth look, read The Rise of American Fascism.

Lurie ends with noting that after the rise of Nazism, Progressives quickly distanced themselves from fascism. “They did love fascism. The progressives and the godless can’t escape it. They just never stopped to think of the inevitable consequences of a world without God and freedom. And that was what was truly ugly.” (pg. 84)

For the last time, it’s not that simple and atheists don’t love fascism anymore than communists love the New Deal.

Not all Christians don’t like fascism even though the Bible is fascistic, nor do they like dictatorships even though their God is a dictator. There is a reason people call it “blind faith,” that’s why religions reverse everything. That’s why I oppose faith, and that’s why when I criticize Christianity I criticize the beliefs (and at least the believers who take their religion seriously).

Eugenics

Lurie gives into the story of Francis Galton and his eugenics program. He notes that Galton was Charles Darwin’s cousin and “he shared the Darwinian agnosticism and antagonism to Christianity for most of his adult life.” (pg. 84)

Did he? Did he????? I checked Lurie’s source…. it’s an article from creation.com, written by a chemist, and surprise surprise the article doesn’t provide any source to back up their claim. Go bloody figure.

From what I’ve gathered, because I bother to research, Galton fits the description of Pantheist – the belief that the universe is God. He didn’t believe in the objectivity of prayer, but believed the subjectivity of prayer was useful. Throughout his career pursuing eugenics, he saw eugenics as a component of religion. You can read more about Galton here.

After stating that Galton wrote in his first published article in 1865, Galton viewed religious sentiments as “nothing more than evolutionary devices to insure the survival of the human species.” Right after that, Lurie states, “In short, godlessness and antagonism to religion were at the heart of the eugenics movement, from its very birth.” (pg. 85)

Lurie is weaseling again. There is a difference between theistic evolution (on in this case pantheistic evolution) and atheistic evolution, but Barak Lurie is careful to not reveal to the reader what Galton personally believed in the broad overview sense.

And that is literally it for Galton, because right after calling Galton “godless,” Lurie jumps to Edward Ross and Charles Van Hise. Lurie goes on and on showing snippits of their views on eugenics and blaming societal ills on race.

After that, Lurie asks, “How could Americans have adopted this, you may wonder. Wasn’t America founded to preserve and promote individualism and the sanctity of the individual?” (pg. 86)

Oh please. The Founding Fathers thought the American public were dumb, and should not vote unless they were land-owners… oh, and neither should blacks and women vote. When the Founding Fathers created our democracy, they gave the vote to just 6% of the population at the time. And it took a long time to change that. (United States. National Archives. The Charters of Freedom. Washington D.C.: U.S. National Archives and Records Administration, 2015.)

In fact, it took almost 70 years for the vote to be extended to all white men (that’s right lads, that “white privilege” doesn’t guarantee a vote, don’t take your rights for granted and don’t take others for granted, defend them all.) Bottom line, Americans arguably have had a class privilege issue in America just as long as we’ve had race-based privileges, and the Founding Fathers did squat to correct either of those.

Preserve the sanctity of the individual…[scoff] and to show for it, they didn’t give them all equal rights, rather they kept many as slaves, forced half the population to stay home and breed babies, and stole the land of the Natives and/or killed them. Not even the Germans and Italians had equal rights. Ex. the Italians weren’t considered “white.”

Lurie blames the rise of eugenics on “progressive economists” and “the new broad acceptance of Darwinism in the late nineteenth century, combined with a new sense that America should approach its social problems scientifically, led to a wholehearted embrace of eugenics.” (pg. 86)

Wrong. A twisted misunderstanding of evolution led to eugenics, or more specifically the rise of eugenics was tied to the rise of the science of genetics than to evolutionary theory. The source of “social Darwinism” was not Darwin but Herbert Spencer and the tradition of Protestant nonconformism going back to Hobbes via Malthus. Spencer’s ideas of evolution were Lamarckian. The only real connection between Darwinism and social Darwinism is the name.

Not only that, evolutionary theory shows us that the long-term survival of a species is strongly linked with its genetic variability. All Social Darwinist programs advocate minimizing genetic variability, thus reducing chances of long-term survival in the event of environmental change. An understanding of evolution should then rebuke any attempt at social Darwinism if the long-term survival of humanity is treated as a goal.

Moving on, Lurie argues that “observant” Jews and Christians fought the eugenics movement…. his footnote leads to a commentary that says, “Some will point to a religious spinoff movement from Protestantism at the time, known as the the Social Gospel movement, led mostly by Congregationalist and Unitarian ministers, and which did indeed support the eugenics movement. However, this organization was hardly in line with mainstream Christianity, Catholicism, or Judaism. While every broad movement will find adherents among the millions of pastors, priests, reverends, and rabbis throughout the world, it does not mean that the faiths actually adopted them. It means the eugenics movement was able to contort even some of the faithful to their message.”

That’s a piss poor argument. One could easily flip the script and say that any Christian or Jew that opposed the eugenics movement doesn’t mean that the faiths actually adopted such views but were converted that way. It’s practically impossible to argue that isn’t true, considering that the Bible is all over the place promoting contradictory views (do not kill yet you should kill; don’t follow the OT laws, Acts 15 says follow the OT laws; etc)

Here’s what we DO know: Judaism is very ethnocentric, they call themselves “God’s Chosen.” It’s so ethnocentric the point that there are parts that oppose race-mixing and financial advantages for Jews only. The belief that God doesn’t care about skin color is hard to reconcile with the story of Moses and the Moabites in Numbers 25. Israel was suffering, the people were wailing, and the Jews were having sex with the Moabites and started worshiping Ba’al. God ordered the leaders of the transgressors to be executed (verse 4) and lay them out for all to see — basically God demanded the same thing ISIS does. While God is talking to Moses about hanging up the dead bodies, one of the Israelite men brings home a foreign woman. When “Phinehas (Aaron’s grandson) sees the happy couple he throws a spear “through the man .. and the woman through her belly.” (Given that it got the guy and girl through the belly in one thrust, maybe we can assume daddy speared the couple while they were… biblically knowing each other? Talk about double-penetration.)

Did God punish Phinehas for killing two consenting adults of different races? Nope. Rather, God was SOOOO pleased that he turned away his plagues from Israel and then granted a new covenant of peace with Israel. (But not before 24,000 had died.)

Point is, while not all Jews and Christians will support eugenics, there is Biblical grounding for those who do. There is pretty much always Biblical grounding to support anything, good or bad, which -I argue- makes the whole damn book useless. Holy books that give no clear moral direction ultimately provide nothing at all, which is why you’ll find Christians supporting peaceful coexistence and Christians supporting the murder of sinners and heretics.

Lurie notes that while some Christians and Jews stood up to the eugenics movement, “it is difficult” to find any atheist or atheist organization who stood up to the eugenics movement. Lurie says that’s because they have no reason to oppose it.

Difficult does not mean impossible, and evidence of atheists opposing the eugenics movement defeats Lurie’s last comment about having “no reason” to oppose it when obviously they had reasons.

Again, considering the Christian opposition to the eugenics movement is not surprising once the Nazis started to practice eugenics it became widely unpopular anyway, and American Christian groups would have seen which way the wind was blowing – and it would have helped the image of Christianity as a whole to have an anti-eugenics faction, since the Nazis were ostensibly Catholic.

The Lurie goes on to how Americans started forced sterilizations, which was then adopted by the German Nazis who took it to the next level.

Basically Lurie is arguing that overwhelming Christian America adopted forced sterilizations (proponents including Christians, pantheists, and atheists) that were then adopted by Christian Nazi German…. all to make atheists look like the bad guys?

Chapter 2: The Battle Ground

Lurie delves further into his false premises and ask why is godlessness is so destructive and cruel. He admits it can be a coincidence that godless dictators are cruel, as well as admits correlation doesn’t equal causation. “But the godless ideology of these dictators was instrumental to the way they ruled, central to each of their destructive paths. Further, if it was mere correlation, you would expect at least some country’s leaders who did believe in God (or were at least not godless), to engage in similar murder sprees. But that seems not to happen.” (pg. 89)

Again Communism is not based on an atheistic ideology.

This is lie that atheists are communists, or communism is based on atheistic ideology is 100% false. Epicureanism and Stoicism is based on atheistic ideology. A common complain made by theists, typically conservative Christians, is that atheism and/or humanism are essentially socialist or communist by nature. Communism is not, however, inherently atheistic. Some communists have been taught to be atheists, but becoming an atheist doesn’t affect your politics. It is possible to hold communistic or socialist economic views while being a theist and it isn’t at all uncommon to be an atheist while staunchly defending capitalism.

Linking atheism and communism is simply an attempted political smear, not a serious engagement with atheism. Part of this may be based on the historical linkage between Communism and Atheism. Most Communists are Atheists. But many people do not realize that most Atheists in North America are not Communists. In what way is atheism useful to communism? It isn’t. The point is that religion provides an alternative source of authority and moral teachings. A communist or any totalitarian regime wants all authority, morality and virtue to come from the party and the people following the party’s guidance.

Most of Stalinist violence resulted from forced collectivization, and recently published documents show the complicity of church authorities in the Stalinist agenda. Moreover, communism, in the sense of a system of collectivized property, is a biblical notion already found in Acts 4:32-27. That Christian communist system also results in the killing of a married couple (Acts 5:1-11) that reneged on their promise to surrender their property. Thus, the principle of killing those who did not conform to collectivization of property is already a biblical one. The defense that it was simply lying about turning over property that was the motive for the deaths of Ananias and Sapphira overlooks the brute fact that the value of life was put below handing over all their property. For instead of just being expelled, they were killed. Stalin or Mao probably would have done the same thing. Since communism is advocated by some biblical authors, then Maoist and Stalinist deaths cannot simply be attributed to atheism, as enforcing collectivization can be deadly in both atheist or Christian forms.

And yet throughout this whole book, Lurie is going to falsely portray communism as synonymous with atheism. Either he doesn’t know the history of communism or his Bible, or he is aware and lying his ass off.

“I discovered that when you avail yourself to the notion of God, you constantly ask yourself: Why? Or better yet: Why is it so? For example: Why do we love and even seem to need music? Why do we have free will and animals do not? Why do we aspire to anything? Why do we even have a sense of purpose at all? (Or, if you like, what is the purpose of having a purpose?) Why do we appreciate beauty? Why do we have a love for learning and for science? Why do we yearn for truth and justice? As an atheist, I just didn’t ask such questions: I accepted the world and the universe as it was because the answer was that everything happened randomly. Survival of the fittest explained everything. What you see is what you get. There was no “why is it so?” There was only “it is what it is.” When you probe an atheist with such questions, they’ll shrug.” (pg. 89-90)

Lurie is such an ass. Just because he didn’t care his whole childhood why things are as they are doesn’t mean every atheist under the sun never did or never does. Many of us became atheists for the very reason of asking “Why?” and “How?”

Why do we appreciate beauty, music, and all those things? A curious mind could find the answers in neurosciences, cognitive thinking sciences, human biology, etc if they even tried to bother. But it looks like when Lurie decided to finally seek out those questions, he pretty much answered them all with “God did it.” I’m not making that up, skipping way ahead, Lurie says the following: “It is binary. Either God created the universe and all within it, or He did not. Once I realized this philosophical reality, while at the same time realizing free will, beauty, humor, and so forth could not possibly arise out of evolution’s proposed “survival of the fittest” approach, God became a scientific deduction.” God became the scientific deduction, in other words, “God did it.” The very answer utilized by the simple minded.

Then Lurie addresses the “evolution” answer, but notes there are some things that make no sense using “evolution” as an explanation (he asks where did humor, free will and sense of beauty and purpose come from? But he goes more into detail on that three sub-chapters later. The BIG dumb thing Lurie says in this section is, “And, in any event, another question arises with explaining the ordinary mutations: why do we not see any fossil record showing these numerous mutations? If there were such mutations in a nice, orderly fashion, wouldn’t we expect the fossil record to show gradations of ever-evolving life?” (pg. 90)

A) Mutations are not preserved in fossils. Bones are preserved in fossils.

B) We have millions of transitional fossils that show gradual change throughout life. A decade ago, Kathleen Hunt, a zoologist with the University of Washington, produced a list of a few hundred of the more dramatic transitional species known so far, all of which definitely fit every criteria required of the most restrictive definition. Myriad transitional species have been, and still are being, discovered; so many in fact that lost of biologists and paleontologists now consider that list “innumerable” especially since the tally of definite transitionals keep growing so fast! Several lineages are not virtually complete, including our own.

C) Given how we have the fossils that show how and where creatures changed over time, and how we mapped the human genome, we can also determine which genes were mutated to make humans human. For instance, we know that humans underwent a mutation that made our jaws smaller and weaker. And yet, this loss was our gain, because it allowed more room for the skull to develop. Larger skull meant larger brain. And here we are.

Next Lurie uses the old debunked creationist argument of the Cambrian explosion that life “seemingly arriving at the same time” which doesn’t match evolution slow change over time “over millions and billions of years.” (pgs. 90-91)

The Cambrian Explosion is completely compatible with the theory of evolution. The Cambrian explosion was an event that lasted an approx. 5 to 10 million years, some estimate it lasted 40 more million years, but even within the smaller time frame the Cambrian Explosion doesn’t contradict or weaken the theory of evolution.

Seriously, read a damn book! Learn about HOX genes, homeotic genes, lysyloxidase, hemoglobin, and several other factors that ALL point out that the Cambrian period had enough time to allow life to drastically form rapidly all in accordance to the theory of evolution.

Since I suspect Lurie won’t bother to research anything, I’ll spell it out. Here are some plausible explanations for why diversification may have been relatively sudden:

  • The evolution of active predators in the late Precambrian likely spurred the coevolution of hard parts on other animals. These hard parts fossilize much more easily than the previous soft-bodied animals, leading to many more fossils but not necessarily more animals.
  • Early complex animals may have been nearly microscopic. Apparent fossil animals smaller than 0.2 mm have been found in the Doushantuo Formation, China, forty to fifty-five million years before the Cambrian (Chen, J.-Y. et al., 2000. Precambrian animal diversity: Putative phosphatized embryos from the Doushantuo Formation of China. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science USA 97(9): 4457-4462. http://www.pnas.org/cgi/content/full/97/9/4457). Much of the early evolution could have simply been too small to see.
  • The earth was just coming out of a global ice age at the beginning of the Cambrian (Hoffman, Paul F. et al., 1998. A Neoproterozoic snowball earth. Science 281: 1342-1346. See also: Kerr, Richard A., 1998. Did an ancient deep freeze nearly doom life? Science 281: 1259,1261; Kerr, Richard A., 2000. An appealing snowball earth that’s still hard to swallow. Science 287: 1734-1736.). A “snowball earth” before the Cambrian explosion may have hindered development of complexity or kept populations down so that fossils would be too rare to expect to find today. The more favorable environment after the snowball earth would have opened new niches for life to evolve into.
  • Hox genes, which control much of an animal’s basic body plan, were likely first evolving around that time. Development of these genes might have just then allowed the raw materials for body plans to diversify (Carroll, Robert L., 1997. Patterns and Processes of Vertebrate Evolution. Cambridge University Press.).
  • Atmospheric oxygen may have increased at the start of the Cambrian (Canfield, D. E. and A. Teske, 1996. Late Proterozoic rise in atmospheric oxygen concentration inferred from phylogenetic and sulphur-isotope studies. Nature 382: 127-132. See also: Knoll, A. H., 1996. Breathing room for early animals. Nature 382: 111-112; Logan, G. A., J. M. Hayes, G. B. Hieshima and R. E. Summons, 1995. Terminal Proterozoic reorganization of biogeochemical cycles. Nature 376: 53-56. See also Walter, M., 1995. Faecal pellets in world events. Nature 376: 16-17; Thomas, A. L. R., 1997. The breath of life — did increased oxygen levels trigger the Cambrian Explosion? Trends in Ecology and Evolution 12: 44-45).
  • Planktonic grazers began producing fecal pellets that fell to the bottom of the ocean rapidly, profoundly changing the ocean state, especially its oxygenation (Logan, G. A., J. M. Hayes, G. B. Hieshima and R. E. Summons, 1995. Terminal Proterozoic reorganization of biogeochemical cycles. Nature 376: 53-56. See also Walter, M., 1995. Faecal pellets in world events. Nature 376: 16-17).
  • Unusual amounts of phosphate were deposited in shallow seas at the start of the Cambrian (Cook, P. J. and J. H. Shergold (eds.), 1986. Phosphate Deposits of the World, Volume 1. Proterozoic and Cambrian Phosphorites. Cambridge University Press; Lipps, J. H. and P. W. Signor (eds.), 1992. Origin and Early Evolution of the Metazoa. New York: Plenum Press.).

And then Lurie brings up the complexity of the human eye [UHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!], claims that the odds that “each mammal evolved the same kind of eye” is “infinitesimally small (actually, to say “infinitesimal” does not even approach the true degree of improbability. It is more like “infinitesimally infinitesimal”). Also, there is no meaningful evidence of anything “pre”-eye; it just seems to have appeared. And there is scant evidence of the evolution of the eye itself.” (page 91) Lurie’s source for that last comment: John Rennie, “15 Answers to Creationist Nonsense,” July 1, 2002, to which Lurie included the following, “Biology has vindicated Darwin: researchers have identified primitive eyes and light-sensing organs throughout the animal kingdom and have even tracked the evolutionary history of eyes through comparative genetics.” And YET Lurie argues,Strangely, they present no actual evidence to support this; however, they imply to the reader that such evidence exists. The article essentially argues that evidence exists because they say evidence exists.”

….. you know, there comes a time that it’s inexcusable for being a colossal idiot. Even Michael Behe got scolded in the Kitzmiller v. Dover for being bum-fuck lazy to look for evidence of evolution of things like the immune system before writing and publishing a book that claimed there was no evidence.

In a bit I will share a personal story about how I came to accept evolution, but the essential part was I didn’t accept evolution for a long time because I took my time researching and learning how the world worked? The human eye never once was on my mind, yet when I was researching evolution, this same “objection” kept popping up again and again and again because so many people were making this an issue. I checked out what the naysayers had to say, then I looked to see if there were any evidence to answer them….. and there was evidence. Every. Single. Time.

And yet, here is Lurie, repeating the same shallow objections I heard just over a decade ago, and asserting no such “evidence” exists. Not only has the necessary information been out there this whole time, Darwin himself answered these objections 150 years ago. Hence, I conclude there is no excuse for Lurie to be this clueless.

All mammals share a common ancestor, so of course they are going to have similar eyes.

And the issue that shouldn’t matter is figuring out the odds, you should be figuring out if it did happen. I can calculate the odds of me existing (factor the odds my parents meeting; the odds of my parents being fertile; the genetic odds of me being me and not a dwarf woman; etc), I can make the odds SO LARGE that it would appear impossible for me to even exist. Yet I do exist, and my parents created me. That should be the mindset trying to figure out of animals share a common ancestor, not the mindset of calculating everything (you’ll just drive yourself crazy).

So is there evidence of the evolution of the eye? YES. Just as scientists can map out the stages how a zygote becomes a human being (before we invented cameras), we can map out the stages of how the eye developed. Scientists have done that, and checked to see if these stages exist in Nature. They do. So it’s all plausible. Once we had cameras, we can watch as a fetus develops it’s eyes, just as was previously anticipated. Then they checked the genetic factors. They match.

Seriously, this is a settled matter. Has been for a long time. The people who still say “no” are pretty the equivalent of Flat Earthers.

Next Lurie examines the brain and it’s high capacity to store tons of information. Lurie asks why would “survival of the fittest” favor giving us a large capacity to store knowledge, “Do we really need knowledge of advance physics, chemistry, or even algebra to survive? In fact, to survive in the wild, do we truly need memories or need for information storage at all, at least the intensely detailed kind we have about some nasty thing our first-grade teacher said to us?” (pg. 90)

If you were a caveman and saw your friend die after eating a mushroom that was green and red, having a means to store and recall that information/memory would help you survive when you are hungry in the wild. Biological life is all about reproducing and keeping life flourishing. So wouldn’t evolution favor a brain with a large capacity to store information? Of course it would. After all, there is a lot to learn about the dangers in the wild. Wondering why our brains evolved to remember the nasty things a first-grade teacher said to us is the same brain that let’s us remember the nasty warnings our parents told us like “don’t eat the green and red mushrooms, they will kill you.”

Knowledge is essential for survival for social animals. It is this knowledge that we learned about fire and how to control it, and from that we learned how to mine minerals and forge weapons. Knowledge helped us create houses and helped us create advance tools, which in turn helped us survive, hence the necessity to advance our knowledge to keep moving forward.

Nitpicking here, I know, but I could not help reply to this nugget of stupidity: “And if it’s a question of survival, why don’t animals have anything remotely similar in size to the human brains’ capacity?” (pg. 91)

If flight is a method of survival, why don’t all animals have the capability to fly?

If breathing under water is a method of survival, why don’t all animals have the capability to breathe under water?

If a tortoises shell is a method of survival, why don’t all animals have a shell?

If a wasp plants it’s eggs inside a living caterpillar as a method of survival, why don’t we all animals plant their fertilized eggs inside a living creature just so the babies can literally eat their way out?

Are you getting the message???? Use your brain. Unique traits that one or several species have that helps them survive does not mean that it should be the same throughout the entire animal kingdom. Otherwise there would be about one type of animal throughout Earth’s whole history.

“I came to discover that atheism and evolution are codependent; they go hand in hand with each other, like an electron must have its proton, yin must have its yang, and Abbott must have his Costello. Atheism makes no sense without evolution to explain our universe and our existence.” (pg. 91)

Lies. I am living proof that is a lie.

When I became an atheist at age 17, I knew close to nothing about evolution. At the time, I only had a high-school education of biology, which I got a C in. Biology didn’t interest me, and I skimmed through doing the minimum. Did I learn about evolution? It was brief, covered very little, and at the time I couldn’t give a flying fuck because I was Christian at the time.

So, years later, after a long and very carefully explored journey, I became an atheist and I didn’t know anything about evolution, nor did I finally learn anything about it until a year later in college.

My point is that my atheism wasn’t a result of learning evolution, nor did becoming an atheist meant I suddenly accepted evolution. You might be wondering, “well, if you were an atheist, then how did you explain the questions like how did we get here?”

Simple.

My answer was “I don’t know.”

That’s it.

Why did I settle for that? Because faith is wishful-thinking. My whole life before that point, I was blind to what faith really was and what it did to me. I was believing for the sake of belief, to provide an answer for everything. I was believing without evidence, pretending to know things that I did not know and could not know. I didn’t have to worry about answering any questions, because the answer was always “God did it,” and having no nagging questions is comforting to many. But then I realized that I wanted God to be the answer, rather than being sure that God was the answer. So I thought long and hard about the nature of God, and like dominoes, one thing fell then another fell then another… Until I finally became a Deist, but that only lasted a week. How did the universe start? I asked myself: Does answering a mystery with another mystery answer anything? If I don’t know the answer to a mystery, does that mean God or a supernatural being wins by default? Does an unknown answer mean therefore magic? If I have no proof for something, is it rational or even honest to think that I do? Was I clinging to a belief in God because I wanted that to be the answer to the mystery? Am I fooling myself? Do I honestly know there is a God, or am I pretending and just believing in belief for belief’s sake? Eventually I realized that I was in fact projecting the answer I wanted it to be. I was fooling myself. In that moment I realized that belief in God was unnecessary and wishful thinking, my head started spinning, I thought I was going to faint I reached out to grab a shelf to keep myself up.

Now that I was an atheist, how did I answer where did humans come from? I was happy and comfortable answering “I don’t know” with a straight face. It was a true answer, and I was finally being honest with myself. Just because I didn’t know where X came from, that doesn’t mean that God is the answer by default.

So I was happy living in a “I don’t know” state for a long time, because it allowed me to ask questions and seek out answers without being blinded by faith. How did the Earth orbit the sun? I learned about the physical laws of planetary motion. Where did atoms come from? I learned that the stars create atoms via nuclear fusion. How does gravity work? I learned that Newton’s laws were updated thanks to Einstein’s theory of relativity. For a long time, I was trying to piece together the basic fabrics that made the universe.

Until finally, a year later after long searches to answer other big questions I had, I finally got around to addressing the question “where did humans come from?” and started searching for answers. That is where I revisited biology. Turns out, historically there were several scientific models to explain the diversity of life (from Aristotle to Lamarck)… but only one scientific model stood towering above them, like a full-bloom oak tree over an ant, because it had the very thing that mattered to me: evidence.

I didn’t embrace Darwin’s theory of evolution immediately, I had to carefully make sure that it covered the questions it sought to answer. The more I looked into it, the more it became clear: evolution is a fact.

It is a fact that evolution happens; that biodiversity and complexity does increase, that both occur naturally only by evolutionary mechanisms and according to the laws of population genetics.

It is a fact that alleles vary with increasing distinction in reproductive populations and that these are accelerated in genetically isolated groups.

It is a fact that natural selection, sexual selection, and genetic drift have all been proven to have predictable effect in guiding this variance, both in the scientific literature and in practical application.

It is a fact that significant beneficial mutations do occur and are inherited by descendant groups, and that multiple independent sets of biological markers exist to trace these lineages backwards over many generations.

It is a fact that birds are a subset of dinosaurs the same way humans are a subset of apes, primates, eutherian mammals, and vertebrate deuterostome animals.

It is a fact that the collective genome of all animals has been traced to its most basal form through reverse sequencing, and that those forms are also indicated by comparative morphology, physiology, and embryological development as well a chronologically correct placement of successive stages revealed in the geological column.

It is a fact that everything on earth has definite relatives either living nearby or evident in the fossil record, and that the fossil record holds hundreds of definitely transitional species even according to it’s strictest definition of that term.

It is a fact that both microevolution and macroevolution have been directly-observed and document dozens of time both in the lab and in national controlled conditions in the field, and that instances have all withstood critical analysis in peer-review.

It is also a fact that evolution is the only explanation of biodiversity with either evidential support or scientific validity and no would be alternative notion has ever met even one of the criteria of being a theory.

Evolution is a fact!

Despite the fact that creationists will lie about everything in this list, these are the FACTS of evolution, meaning of each of these points are demonstrably true and measurably accurate, thus it is a matter of knowledge rather than mere belief.

What This Book Is Not About

“This book is not about proving the existence of God. This book is also not about proving that atheists are wrong. Plenty of books and discussions are available about both of those topics….All the same, it’s important to know what the atheist thinks, because it helps reveal the destruction that godlessness brings.” (pg. 93)

Throughout this whole book, Lurie only projects and asserts what he thinks atheists should think and accept.

Well, as an atheist, I’m going to call out Lurie for what this is: a book of lies.

So this is what Lurie thinks atheists think:

The Argument For Atheism

Lurie says by age 11 he had it all figured out and got in debates with his theist brother. Lurie argued that God was just a “social safety net” to cope that they live in a hostile universe and “Evolution demonstrates that things developed randomly, and we slowly mutated over millions and billions of years to be the intelligent species we are today.” (pgs. 93-94)

Why is it that theists who claim that they were an atheist who understood evolution constantly misrepresent evolution like they have no idea what evolution is all about? The fact that he called evolution “random” is a red flag, because if he understood evolution he would know that natural selection (the driving force of the whole thing) is the opposite of random, it is selective.

I think Lurie is misrepresenting the theory of evolution on purpose, to give his readers the false impression that atheists think that the diversity of life is just random.

Anyways, Lurie continues on, writing a long narrative of what “God” supposedly is, just to debunk it all in the next sub-chapter. He says that humans learned how the natural world really worked and abandoned certain Gods. Now God is a shrinking God as science marches on and will eventually answer all the big questions. Whereas faith is for wishful-thinkers and is used to control people and make them commit atrocities like the crusades. He goes on to dismiss the clergy, biblical stories that are unscientific, miracles, and science-repressing religion as a whole. He calls religion a “crutch” and references Marx calling religion an “opiate of the masses” and notes drugs only hurt, they don’t build. Next, speaking like an atheist, he asks to not mention goodness requires God while pointing out animals can be moral, atheists can be moral, and theists can be immoral.

The Argument Against Atheism

The Great Internal Irony of Atheism

Laurie claims that the atheist who finds their own morality without God as “puzzling.” He goes off to list a set of standards that we use from health, road traffic laws, to mathematics. Yet when it comes to how we treat each other, Lurie claims that atheists answer the questions of morality that “it’s something you just know.”

In other words, Lurie is arguing that atheists are relativists who don’t believe there is no “absolute right or wrong.” And that folks, is 20 pounds of horse crap stuffed in a 5 pound bag. Atheism doesn’t mean that atheists reject objective morality, nor does theism mean that a believer embraces objective morality.

Seriously, even if all that Barak Lurie did was go to the Atheism page on Wikipedia, he could see that atheism can find recognition in Objectivism as well as Logical Positivism. If he digged a little more, he could’ve found more atheistic ideologies, or even secular versions of morality like Game Theory. My mate, Damien Athope, for instance, is a Axiological Atheist. It’s a value science which operates under certain moral axioms. [1] [2] [3]

Likewise, theism doesn’t always lead to objective morality. In Christianity in particular, this is indefensible. If God was absolutely moral, because morality was absolute, and if the nature of “right” and “wrong” surpassed space, time, and existence, and if it was a fundamental property of reality as math, then why were some things a sin in the OT but not a sin in the NT?

Dennis Prager who forwarded this book tried to argue for objective morality on the Dogma Debate podcast #321 earlier this year, in which he stated that secular morality that aims to promote the well-being and flourishment of humanity as “subjective” shot himself in the foot. Prager argued that the 10 Commandments lead to a flourishment of humanity and well-being, but if those objectives are “subjective” then his own moral system is subjective. Prager can’t have his cake and eat it too. If the 10 Commandments are “objective” because they come from a God, that would still make them subjective because a God gets to subjectively choose what is right or wrong OR morality is objective independent of God, which means that secular morality can obtain objective morality without God.

The point is, worldviews and beliefs that do not include any God does not mean that they are without objective morality or any source of morality. Buddhists don’t believe in a God in their religious system, but they do still have a concept of Karma, which is kind of a cosmic moral system. You can believe that behavior has consequences without believing that those consequences are imposed by a god. Buddhists don’t believe that there needs to be a god in order for there to be “transcendent” morality. Even if you are not a Buddhist, you can still be a good moral law keeper, if there are contingent, non-transcendent laws. Within the context of those, there are non-transcendent virtues. In fact, the whole theist objection to these is most relevant with regard to such moralities.

So on what do we base for morality? We know it is not power, the one with the gun might have means to impose their wishes, but this tells us nothing about their principles. We know it is not majority preference, if the spectacle of human sacrifices is the preferred entertainment of the majority, this does not make human sacrifice right. We know it is not tradition, the fact that a practice may have endured for many generations tells us nothing about its virtue. Although what is written in law may actually reflect what a society may deem right or wrong, we know law does not determine morality. Laws can be unjust. When asking this question, it can be useful to consider how we go about accessing moral problems.

  • Society 1 – Children are branded witches and blamed for famines and floods. They are ostracized by their parents, starved, tortured, and killed. What can we say about this? Well, we know that these disasters are not due to magic but natural processes. So even before having to consider the moral dimension, we can reject this behavior outright as resulting from a false view of how nature works. What makes it a moral matter is what kind of harm it involves. For things that cause no harm, moral condemnation simply is not appropriate. Example, homosexuality is often misidentified as a moral issue, but gay relationships involve no intrinsic harm any more than mixed ones. Indeed, when classing harmless things as immoral results in persecution. We’ve reasoned to condemn the misclassification. Are the parents in this society morally blameworthy if they are genuinely ignorant of their wrongdoing? We do not call well-fed cats who kill mice, or small children who crayon on expensive wall paper immoral, because we do not contribute them with the capacity to grasp reasons for not doing so. People who harm children as witches may have their capacity for reason undermined by false teachings and so be less blameworthy than knowing abusers. In a very important sense, moral responsibility can be said to operate within limits of education. this is why education, especially in science, is crucial to moral progress. Among other things, it helps eliminate our vulnerability to superstition-based abuse. Knowing better leaves us no excuse for not doing better. Once the justification for harmful practices is shown as false, there is literally no reason for it to continue. This first scenario is about dehumanization, when the witch-finder convinces a parent that her child is evil (even demonic) this is a potent way of eroding empathy – an adaptive pro-social trait (lacking in psychopaths) which keeps us sensitive to others suffering. During WWII, Jews were seen as vermin by their persecutors, some paint the non-religious as degenerate or hell-fodder. Dehumanizing people is a known method for diminishing compassion and the guilt felt when abusing them. We learn much from history and the present day about the horrors it can enable.
  • Society 2 – The single lawmaker tells everyone “All who harm you will be punished. But you won’t be punished for harming others.” Persons A and B harm each other simultaneously, they each quote the first part of the law, demanding the others punishment. The other quotes the second part, demanding immunity from punishment. According to the law, A and B must be both punished AND immune from punishment. This is the kind of absurdity that results from egocentric system where only one’s own suffering, desires, etc. matter. If suffering is bad in principle, then claiming others that it is wrong to hurt you while you hurt others would be appealing to the same notion of justice that requires you to recognize your own wrong-doing. This is not only why this reduces suffering, it is also rationally consistent to have basic prohibitions against causing needless harm to other humans, and by extension other life forms that we know have the capacity to experience suffering. Besides, part of morality’s essence is adopting a plural view, recognizing our impact on others and adjusting our conduct in response. Of course sometimes causing harm is rationally premised. For example, we risk painful medical procedures if there is a compensating benefit to our health. And sometimes we have sufficient justification to harm others when acting in self-defense or too prevent greater suffering.
  • Society 3 – Only males are allowed to learn to read and write. Is this just? Well, we know there is no valid basis for making literacy dependent on gender. We know the real reason institutions and individuals who restricted basic education throughout history is to keep others subservient. As noted earlier, more education decreases vulnerability to abuse. Forbidding female literacy is itself a mark of bad education and the unjust exercise of authority. But what if most of the women agreed with this rule, is it then acceptable? If an eight-year-old consents to an adults sexual advances, are the advances acceptable? Of course not. This is why we do not only talk about consent, but capacity for informed consent. People kept purposely uneducated can reasonably be said to have diminished capacity for informed consent. The rule is oppressive in its construction, even if the women agree with it. Indeed, when people who have been made subservient elaborate in their own oppression, this is normally cause for greater concern, not less. Those who defend their abusers are the most comprehensively enslaved.
  • Society 4 – ALL criminals are executed. Accessing this law, we can see its flawed, but no only because of disproportionate punishment is unjust, under this rule those who commit minor crime (sch as littering) having nothing to lose but all to gain by killing witnesses (even suspecting witnesses). Murder can’t increase the consequences for them, they can only inflate the chances of evading execution. In this way, execution for all crime actually encourages minor crimes to escalate. This gives us a reason to tailor punishment in the severity of the offense, especially in the category in the case of serious crime. For example, while rape is a horrific form of abuse, punishing murder more severely will tend to deter rapists from also killing their victims. As before with indiscriminate execution, the rapist loses nothing, but might gain, by also committing murder.
  • Society 5 – The leader declares smiling on a Tuesday is immoral. This cases no identifiable harm, so there are no valid grounds for declaring it immoral. Nor can it be made immoral by making it a law and then saying it is immoral to break the law. If this was how our morality worked, any arbitrary behavior can be made immoral. We do not base morality on revelation based on authority. That would render us merely obedient. Moral behavior is doing what is right, not what we are told (unless what we are told is also right). This is why when asking “why is X immoral”, appealing to scripture or a divine figure gets us nowhere. There must be valid independent reasons to define what is moral, right or wrong, good or bad. If intuition tells us what is immoral, we may ask what triggers the intuition? There must be valid reasons,once we are dealing with valid reasons, we’re having a conversation that has no need to refer to Scripture or authority (divine or otherwise). Valid reasons are available to us all.
  • Society 6 – Feeding someone chocolate and making green painting are prohibited. The people of this society have a genetic intolerance to chocolate that causes them agonizing death. They also live in a remote island were green paint can only be made with a rare substance needed for a life-saving medicine. Differing biology or practical circumstances can explain why some populations live by different rules. Also different cultures may deal effectively with the same issue despite approaches. But this does not commit us to saying that cultures are equally valid. Because some cultural differences are justified, it does no mean that all of them (as noted earlier, branding children as witches is categorically wrong to be rejected as the result of bad education not ‘respected as a cultural truth’) the fact at some cultures have cruel practices does not mean morality is therefore arbitrary and all opinions are equal. It simply reflects the fact that just as moral development takes time to develop in the individual, but it also takes time to develop in societies, with different societies developing at different rates. Some societies still believe in magic, some have largely outgrown their belief in magic but not animal cruelty, racism, sexism, or homophobia. Some societies have largely outgrown all of these and are focused on advances in other areas effecting the well-being of the planet.

Reviewing these scenarios, it should be noted there is nothing arbitrary about the arguments given for improving education, graduating criminal punishment, prohibiting needless harm, and recognizing relevant difference. It is though such measures, as well as cultivating attitudes of cooperation and compromise (despite competing interests), that we are able to coexist with minimal suffering.

The worry that a without religion or god we’ve no basis for on which to discuss morality, is without foundation. Plain empathy can trigger natural help responses to others distress and crate natural aversion to causing others harm. Likewise, the simple experience of living alongside others is a simple feedback about how our actions affect each other and how we might have to affect our conduct in response. The human brain contains “mirror neurons”; which mimic the activity of other parts of the brain or of other brains. This provides a literal biological foundation for empathy: individuals with mirror neurons, including humans and other primates, can actually feel what others feel. (Source: Thomas S. May, “Terms of Empathy: Your Pain in My Pain——If You Play Fair Game,” Brain Work 16 (May—June 2006): 3)

The two prerequisites for reliable moral assessment are 1) reason and 2) accurate and relevant information. Sound reasoning won’t lead to valid assessments if we are operating under flawed information, nor with sound information if our reasoning is flawed. Without sound reasoning and information, we can’t determine how the universe works, how different life forms suffer or flourish, where responsibility lies, or would the short or long term consequences of actions are on an inter-personal or global scale. And these are considerations on which moral judgments depends.

Then Lurie continues to misrepresent atheism further by claiming that “Atheism offers only emptiness and, ultimately, nihilism.” (pg. 110)

A) That is false. Nihilists are only subsets of atheists, not all atheists are nihilists. I’m not a nihilist, nor are most atheists I know. If Lurie has an issue with nihilism, that’s fine, but do not confuse nihilism with atheism and stick to talking about nihilism.

B) By now, readers have to ask: well, what does Christianity offer? As a former Christian, here’s a glimpse into the Christian worldview: you are told you are wicked by nature. Sure you are told you are “made in God’s image” (whatever that means) and that is supposed to give you meaning and value, but that means diddly squat because all humans are born with a sinful nature, and as the Bible says in Romans “the wages of sin is death,” this is why Christians admit that we as humans deserve to die.

“So why doesn’t God heal amputees? Because we don’t deserve our arms, we deserve to die! That’s what the Bible teaches! Sorry if you don’t like that.” – Venomfangx, YouTube Apologist

Not only are we all sinners who deserve to die, but it is humans fault that diseases are a thing. It is our fault animals kill each other. It is our fault earthquakes and tornadoes are a thing. Every form of suffering in this world is the fault of humans… because Adam and Eve sinned by eating a fruit, and that fault has passed on to the rest of us. So humans are responsible for everything wrong in the world, nobody is innocent, and we all deserve to die. That is what Christianity offers.

So the “made in God’s image” mantra is cancelled out by the belief that we are evil beings that don’t deserve to live. For the sake of argument, let’s agree that atheism doesn’t say anything about the meaning of life, whether there is meaning or no meaning. But is not having a clear answer worse than a belief that centers around you being a wicked being that deserves to die and be tormented forever until time ends? I personally say comparing the two, atheism is by far the better side. I would rather answer the question “what is the meaning of life?” with a shrug than answer “we are vile creatures by nature who deserve to be tortured forever just for being what we are.” That is worse than depressing.

Most people hear about “Christian love” and all about how “Jesus loves you,” but after you engage Christians, you’re likely to hear them admit things with a straight face that reveal the Christian worldview’s lack of empathy for humans because this “all humans are sinners” warps their mentality. One of my favorite examples, which you can watch on YouTube, a Christian caller was so warped by “all humans are sinners” to the point that he didn’t feel empathy for children who were raped because even kids are wicked sinners and therefore kids are evil and not innocent.

Is it no wonder that evangelical Christians overwhelmingly supported Trump, the guy who claimed he would carpet bomb entire cities (which is a war crime) just to combat terrorism? Why would those evangelicals care if innocent people die, after all those people are sinners by nature and blasphemers.

Some Christians may object at this point and say “but the fact that God/Jesus died for your salvation indicates that you are valuable to God.” If we are valuable to God, then why didn’t God die for humanity the moment after Adam and Eve ate the fruit? If we are valuable to God, why were we born in this world instead of beside him in Heaven? Putting all such questions aside, is that answer “but God died for us” even a reasonable or rational answer in of itself? Consider this: you’re walking down the street of your neighborhood, but the new neighbor runs out and stops you and tells you this: “Hey neighbor, I’ve got good news! You really mean a whole lot to me, and I decided not to torture you!” You ask what the bloody hell he’s talking about, so he explains, “well, you like I said, you mean a lot to me…. but you didn’t love me like the way I wanted you to, so I built a large torture chamber in my basement. It had everything: spikes, hammers, nails, acid, electric clamps, blow torches, everything and I was going to trap you down there and torture you day in and day out. It’s still there, but it’s okay now! I decided to send my own child down there instead of you. He was only down there for three minutes, but now he’s no longer down there. He’s in the living room now eating lunch, he’s totally fine like nothing happened to him. But after what he did, even though I sent him, I no longer have to torture you. Isn’t that great! To celebrate, now you can worship me, kiss my feat and praise my name. If you do that, I will let you live in the upstairs bedroom… otherwise if you don’t worship me, I will send you to the torture room and throw away the key. Wanna come in for coffee?” And THAT is Christianity in a nutshell. If some stranger came up to another strange and threatened him like that, the only rational and right thing to do would be call the cops and get away from that sadistic and mad individual. The part of you “mattering” to that psycho neighbor is overshadowed by that neighbors sick immorality.

This is why apologists try to twist Christianity as a whole to make it look like the sadistic creepy neighbor is trying to “rescue you” by giving you a lifeline or parachute (in the form of psycho neighbor sending his own son/himself to the basement for a few minutes to pay himself to appease himself of a crime he put on you), trying to make their God look like a “good God,” when the truth is their God is basically Jigsaw from the Saw horror franchise. Jigsaw might give his victims a way “out” of his fun houses like surgically hiding a key in their intestines, but he’s the reason his victims are in this “world of pain” in the first place. He created and designed this “fun house” his victim find themselves suffering horribly in. He has the power to set the terms of getting out (in Christianity’s case, faith-based gullibility sets you free) or remake this “world of suffering” into a nice place, but he chooses not to — thus condemning everyone to continue suffering. Putting someone in a world of hurt against their will (did you choose to be born in this world instead of Paradise?) and including a way “out” does not absolve one from being a monster. Jigsaw is not a good guy, and neither is the Abrahamic God. Christians, in my experience, know full well that that their religion says they are evil creatures by nature (some will admit that their God knew that in advance that humans would Fall and ruin everything, yet allowed it to happen, which makes Christianity even worse), but they focus as hard as they possibly can on just the “God loves me” mantras to avoid looking at the whole picture to see that their God is a monster. Why do people behave like this? I don’t know, why are certain cult members so mesmerized to be unable to see the cult for what it is or not realizing the charismatic “leaders” are brainwashing/scamming them? Perhaps they 1) focus too strongly on the good parts and 2) are told to “OBEY!!!” and “don’t listen to your doubts and reasoning, they’re both from Satan. Just keep the faith. Praise God!”


(note that Meyer’s book is for “Teens.” Gotta get ’em while they’re young)

C) As for nihilism itself, what is Lurie’s big concern? That nihilism means there is no known ultimate meaning to our existence? The mystery if there is meaning or not is an unsolvable question, but even if the case was there is no meaning, that doesn’t mean that nihilism therefor encourages people to give up and be unhappy. Rather, in that sense, nihilism can be a huge drive for living life to the fullest extent while finding meaning within the wonders of life, even in the littlest things. Don’t believe me? Let Rick and Morty explain how: (please watch before reading further)

Like I said earlier, I’m not a nihilist and I don’t know what’s the meaning of our universe, however if I found out that my universe was created by a scientist just to power his flying car, that knowledge wouldn’t stop me from enjoying life with those I care about. If my whole existence was to power some guy’s brake lights, why waste my existence? After all, humans value things that are rare (like diamonds), and given the vast dark emptiness of the universe, existence is extremely rare, which makes life extremely valuable beyond comprehension and a thus an ultimate privilege. And for that, life is to be cherished and enjoyed to the maximum extent before it is over.

So to all readers: when you’re done reading this blog… go watch TV with a friend. *wink*

Stay schwifty my friends.

*Please support the Trolling With Logic podcast. We accept beers and Szechuan Sauce

Moving on, Lurie eventually comments, “You cannot both subscribe to an ideology that by definition offers no morals and at the same time argue it is a moral system.”

[Uhhh!] No atheist that I know of claims Atheism itself is a moral system. As atheists, we know what atheism means, it’s a lack of belief in gods and nothing more. This is why Atheists subscribe to separate ideologies where atheism can find recognition in, including Objectivism or Secular Humanism. The Erythro Dilemma points out that right/wrong can exist independent of God, and that is what atheists seek: goodness without God. At first, I fancied myself an Epicurean until I learned about Humanism. An atheist mate of mine, Damien Athope, is an Axiological Atheist, which is basically a value system/science within an atheist epistemology. Atheism itself may not be a moral system, but it definitely does not prevent anyone from finding a moral system.

The fact that atheists know that atheism is not in-of-itself a moral system can be clearly seen by the small movement within the atheist community to create “Atheism+”. The idea was since the false stereotype that atheists are immoral people exists around the world, there needed to be a name for atheists to share that atheists are ethical people. Thankfully, the Atheism+ movement pretty much died, because (contrary to Luries ignorance) atheists are very diverse and subscribe to numerous secular schools of thought on how we should treat each other (Eupicureanism, Stoicism, Anarchism, Humanism, Objecitivism, Moral Realism, Feminism and/or Egalitarianism, Consequentialism or Utilitarianism, Relativism and/or Contextual Morality, etc). Rather, it seems the proper way to dis-spell the false stereotype that all atheists are immoral is to share more about ourselves, what we believe and how we think, and show that we indeed are moral people without God instead of rebranding ourselves with a fancy marketable label. Once people understand us better, and realize that we are all not from the same cookie-cutter, and see that we can and are good people, then they will respect us.

“Even during my most intense atheism, I never argued that there could be morals without God. On the contrary, I proudly acknowledged the contrary: I knew morals had nothing to do with atheism.” (pg. 110) Later on near the end, Lurie writes,

And here’s the predictable, “no surprise” ending to this chapter: nothing “moral” has ever come out of atheism. Ever. Because there is nothing in atheism’s business plan that calls for morality.” (pg. 111)

If Lurie already knew that morals had nothing to do with atheism, then this whole thing was a waste of time, except used an opportunity for Lurie to (act all lawyer-like) by making an emotional argument instead of a logical one to paint atheism as immoral.

The Unbearable Impossibility of Being

In this section, Lurie basically tries to disprove the theory of evolution by arguing that it cannot account for the existence of morality, consciousness or human perceptions and appreciation of beauty, music and humor. He argues that, “At some point, I had to accept the fact that evolution could not meaningfully explain the existence of any of these things…. Evolution cannot explain humor or beauty, either….The point is, humor is certainly not necessary for our survival, but it does seem to lift us up. The same applies to beauty. While animals may prefer a stronger animal as a mate, that is a far cry from appreciating a sunset or the beauty of the Mona Lisa, the Beatles’ Hey Jude or Shakespeare’s sonnets.” (pg. 111)

I apologize for going out of order, but WHAT THE FUCK do you mean animals don’t appreciate art like paintings? If that was the case, how do you explain this…

Or why several species of birds literally decorate themselves and/or their homes for the sole purpose of attracting mates? This fact shows that female birds can appreciate beauty.

Furthermore, animals CAN appreciate music, and Lurie would know that if he wasn’t a simpleton who thought music was limited to the Beatles. That type of music was created by humans for humans. Yet when famed musicians like David Teie made music for animals, the animals show a great display of appreciation of the music (as confirmed and supported by neuroscientists).

Anyway, going back in order: can evolution explain morality? HELLS YES.

Humans evolved as social animals, and that is exactly why we evolved morality because social animals benefit from interactions with others, natural selection should favor behavior that allows us to better get along with others.

This is a complex issue and there is a LOT to cover. For more, try reading:

Netting, Jessa, 2000 (20 Oct.). Model of good (and bad) behaviour. Nature Science Update, http://www.nature.com/nsu/001026/001026-2.html

Sigmund, Karl, Ernst Fehr and Martin A. Nowak, 2002. The economics of fair play. Scientific American 286(1) (Jan.): 82-87.

Vogel, Gretchen, 2004. The evolution of the golden rule. Science 303: 1128-1131.

Wright, Robert, 1994. The Moral Animal New York: Pantheon Books.

Henrich, Joseph. 2006. Cooperation, punishment, and the evolution of human institutions. Science 312: 60-61.

Nowak, Martin A. 2006. Five rules for the evolution of cooperation. Science 314: 1560-1563.

Can evolution explain consciousness? Sure it can. Try reading “Consciousness Explained” (1991) by Daniel Dennett or “The Society of Mind” (1985) by Minsky.

Why did humans evolve an appreciate for music? When we are fetuses, we learn and appreciate the rhythm of our mother’s pulse. From there, there are several scientific reasons and possibilities how that can transform into creativity and talent in music theory.

Why did humans evolve to appreciate art? Possibly for the same reasons why the birds mentioned earlier appreciate art.

Why did humans evolve to appreciate humor? Lurie says “Evolution cannot explain humor,” yet he is too lazy to do research or he doesn’t care and would rather lie his ass off. I’m leaning toward the latter, because a simple search can show many results with explanations. Try “The First Joke” published by SAGE journals or “The Evolution of Humor” for starters.

I Do Not Think That Book Says What You Think It Says

The Bible manipulates people to keep them down, using tactics like fear of eternal damnation on the one hand, and false promises of rewards of an after-life on the other.

Most atheists have not read the Bible, let alone meaningfully studied it.” (pg. 113)

Yet surveys show that atheists know more about Christianity than Christians do.

Most atheists were ex-Christians (like myself). And to burst Lurie’s demented bubble, majority of the time, atheists become atheists because they read the Bible. Why? Because when doubt starts to kick in, with the threat of Hell lingering right below us, we must be damn certain that our faith is correct or incorrect. This is what drives many atheists to read and study the Bible hard, because of the threat of Hell. Even after some atheists become atheists, the threat of Hell is so psychologically damaging that it continues to affect people, hence the reason why atheists state that religion is child abuse.

And if it was indeed a book that conniving men had fabricated to “control” the masses, then just who are the master “controllers?” There is no reference to the human “controllers,” let alone a suggestion that some self-anointed men are to be in charge, other than God. Indeed, there is no aspiration to any ruling human authority at all. Oops.” (pg. 113)

No human authority? Really?

For this point to make sense, we need to step back a bit and explain something about Paul. We all know Paul never met Jesus in his entire life. Paul is a man whose entire ministry rests on a man he never met, only relying on “visions” and “revelations” he had about a figure he credits to be Jesus. In Gal. 1.11-12, Paul says he learned the gospel only from a hallucinated encounter with Jesus (a ‘revelation’) whom he experienced ‘within’ himself (Gal. 1.16). He confirms this in Rom. 16.25-26, where Paul says, “My gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ is according to a revelation.”

And Paul was not the only one having visions, he lists many believers hallucinating in Acts.

  1. Acts 7, Stephen hallucinated Jesus floating up in the sky, but no one else there sees it.
  2. Acts 9, Paul hallucinates a booming voice and a beaming light from heaven (and suffers hysterical blindness as a result)
  3. Ananias hallucinates an entire conversation with God.
  4. Acts 10, Cornelius hallucinates a conversation with an angel, and Peter falls into a trance and hallucinates an entire cosmic dinner scene in the sky.
  5. Acts 27, Paul hallucinates a conversation with an angel.

Many Christians receive spirit communications (‘ prophesy’), as indicated in Acts 19.6 and 21.9-10. Paul says (meaning the apostles), ‘God revealed [the secrets of the gospel] through the Spirit’ (1 Cor. 2.10). Likewise, in Rom. 12.6, Paul says Christians in all congregations ‘have gifts differing according to the grace that was given to us; if it be prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of our faith’ (and Paul indicates that these prophets were communicating with spirits, which were under the prophet’s control: 1 Cor. 14.19-32).

So what we have is the word of a guy, his mates, and whole congregations that all engage in hallucinations and visions… and Christian apologists would have us believe they are reliable and trustworthy sources.

Now let’s fast forward to where Paul set up human authority.

1 Corinthians 14, Paul sets rules to prevent a problem arising in the church of so many people describing their hallucinations and spirit communications and speaking in tongues that they were talking over one another (on hallucinations in particular: 1 Cor. 14:26, 30).

In 1 Cor. 12.28, Paul ranks the members of the church in order of authority: “And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues.”

After setting up these rules, how reasonable is it that shortly after Paul’s hierarchy that eventually people were given titles (like Bishop) and secure positions themselves as authorities within the church?

In the Bible, God repeatedly disapproves the notion of kings, at least the autocratic kind. He prefers for the people to govern themselves.” (pg. 113)

You know what you will never find in the Bible, neither in the Old or New Testament? BALLOT BOXES. Why? Because there is no democracy in the Bible, everything is ruled by God or kings or the apostles then church leaders.

Everywhere you look in the Bible, the stories all center around God appointing Kings, and prophecies foretelling the coming of Kings. In fact, that’s what the Messiah is supposed to be: a ruler over Israel. Even the most liberal of Christians claim that “Jesus is King” and we must worship Jesus… how is worshiping a king no different than the North Koreans worshiping Kim as a God?

Even if we ignored that fact about Jesus, the fact that Yahweh appoints King Solomon and King David reveals just how clueless Lurie is about his own religion for thinking God “disapproves” of kings. It’s like a self-proclaimed fan of Tolkein claiming Gandalf doesn’t like Kings… even though he tried to help Thorin reclaim his throne and he proudly crowned Aragon the King of Gondor.

Bottom line: anyone who thinks that the Bible’s message was for man to govern themselves is a damn liar. The whole point is for every nation to turn to God, obey his rules (which gives church leaders power) and await the Second Coming.

Furthermore, Lurie appears to be contradicting himself: here he says that his God prefers if man governs themselves, yet later he says that when men govern themselves that’s a bad thing because it can lead to Big Government. If Big Government is democratically voted for, is it God approved?

God repeatedly expresses his disdain for dictatorship.” (pg. 113)

 

If the God character of the Bible dislikes dictators, he wouldn’t be one.

One would expect such a manipulative treatise to name preferred rulers, and demand that the masses give these rulers most of their wealth, and for that matter, all their women for their personal gratifications. But no such demands appear.” (pg. 114)

Passages demanding the masses to hand over money:

“Will man rob God? Yet you are robbing me. But you say, ‘How have we robbed you?’ In your tithes and contributions. You are cursed with a curse, for you are robbing me, the whole nation of you. Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need. ” – Malachi 3:8-11.

“And blessed be God Most High, who has delivered your enemies into your hand!” And Abram gave him a tenth of everything.” – Genesis 14:20

Those were a couple of passages used to this day to support tithing, but as we’ve seen in the New Testament, the apostles had the ability to make entire towns adopt a new economic system in a day! If the apostles were able to do this, think of all the economic persuasions they made that were not mentioned in the gospels. The book of Acts has two explicit passages depicting the very communistic nature of the early Christian community:

All that believed were together, and had all things in common; And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need.
(Acts 2:44-45)

There was not a needy person among them, for as many as owned lands or houses sold them and brought the proceeds of what was sold. They laid it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to each as any had need. There was a Levite, a native of Cyprus, Joseph, to whom the apostles gave the name Barnabas (which means “son of encouragement”). He sold a field that belonged to him, then brought the money, and laid it at the apostles’ feet.
(Acts 4:34-37)

Is it possible that Marx’s famous line “From each according to his ability, to each according to his need” took its inspiration directly from the New Testament?

Immediately following this second passage is a very interesting story about a couple, Ananias and Sapphira, who sold a piece of property but only gave the community a portion of the proceeds, keeping some of it for themselves. When Peter confronts them with this, they both fall down and die – leaving the impression (for many people) that they were struck dead. The fear of death spread across the people with an ultimatum: join Biblical communism and submit or die.

Killing bourgeoisie land owners who fail to give all of their money to the community? That’s not merely communism, that’s Stalinism. Peter did it ~1900 years before Stalin, and God let it happen.

Lurie then argues that if the Bible was a manipulative book, it would 1) admonish ordinary men and women to speak for themselves 2) tell them they should be grateful to their “masters” 3) encourage racism or 4) encouraage some “caste” type to enable the “have” to maintain their power. Lurie says nothing like this is in the Bible.

1) What happens when ordinary people speak for themselves? It’s called heresy.

Lurie is the acting snake-oil salesman here, telling readers that his camp offers freedom, but when you cross that threshold (into the domain I was apart of as a Christian) you learn what they really believe. Church leaders elect themselves to speak for you, and if you voice your own thoughts that fly contrary to the church or it’s leaders, you get ostracised.

This is why Christian groups all around America are actively trying to push their religion into the State and Federal government, because the American way runs contrary to their religious-facist beliefs. For example, every year we hear Christians trying to get the 10 Commandments to be stationed in court houses, federal buildings and even schools all across America. The Society for the Practical Establishment and Perpetration of the Ten Commandments released this sentiment:

the constitution’s satanic ability to create the abominable and death-worthy crime of homosexuality (Leviticus 20:13). The diabolical process by which it accomplishes homosexuality and the foolish tolerance thereto is highly involved and varied. So, a very simplified explanation of the workings of the basic principle must suffice here. The constitution, practically the first amendment, in essence states that male citizens have the so called “right” and “freedom” to think, speak, act in ways opposite to their God-given and thus rightful role as males; and female have the so called “right” and “freedom” to think, speak, and act in ways opposite to their God-given and thus rightful roles as females. In no way does the constitution encourage faithfulness to your rightful gender, but strongly discourages it by virtue of its most poisonous concepts of “rights” and “freedoms.” – The Society for the Practical Establishment and Perpetration of the Ten Commandments

To sum up their religious ideology, YOU do not have the right to think, speak or act in anyway whatsoever that does not align with the Bible, even if the amendments giving you such rights say otherwise. They are arguing that every amendment must be judged through the lens of the Bible — essentially making America a theocracy.

In other words: To Hell with your “Freedom.” (remember this, because 2 chapters later, Lurie is going to freak out that a Muslim said the exact same thing and panics that Islam is going to try to take away your freedom. Irony abounds)

2 and 3) In Luke 12:47,48, Jesus said: “And that servant [Greek doulos = slave] which knew his Lord’s will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes. But he that knew not, and did not commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes.” Jesus encouraged the beating of slaves! Is this an example of moral superiority? Some Christians will argue that this is just a parable based on the culture of the day, and that Jesus did not mean it to be taken literally. But an examination of the context proves otherwise. Jesus had just given a parable about servants a few verses earlier, and Peter had asked for an elaboration (12:41). The quote about beating slaves is in the explanation, not the parable. Besides, what an ugly thing to say! Even if it were a metaphor, it is a poor choice of words. It would be like a politician making an anti-Semitic or black joke and then saying, “I wasn’t serious.”

Why did Jesus, the unrivaled moral example, never once speak out against slavery? Why did the loving, wise Son of God forget to mention that human bondage is a brutal institution? Why did he incorporate it into his teachings, as if it were the most natural thing in the world? I’ll tell you why: because he supported it. The Old Testament endorses and encourages slavery, and Jesus, being equal to God, supposedly wrote the old laws, so he had to support slavery. This is not to concede that a man named Jesus actually uttered these words in history. It merely demonstrates that the Gospels were written by human beings who were locked into their culture. Not only did they refuse to denounce slavery, they could not conceive that there was anything wrong with it.

4) Why do you think Jesus demanding the rich to get rid of all their wealth, but the church is expected to receive all the Moolah from everyone in the form of tithing?

And here’s this gem: “Far from this, the Bible makes clear that God detests slavery, human sacrifice, polygamy, distinctions between rich and poor, adultery and incest.”

God LOVES slavery: We already went over how Jesus approved of slavery. The Apostles also approved of it. In the Torah, Yahweh himself approved of slavery. Here are Bible stories that show God’s approval of slavery:

  • After the flood, the “just and righteous” Noah (Genesis 6:9, 7:1) got drunk, and lay around naked in his tent. When his son, Ham, saw his father in this condition, Noah cursed not Ham, but Ham’s son, Canaan, and all of Canaan’s descendants, saying, “A servant of servants shall he be unto his brethren.” This is one of many Bible passages that have been used to justify slavery. “And he [Noah] said, Cursed be Canaan; a servant of servants shall he be unto his brethren. And he said, Blessed be the LORD God of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant. God shall enlarge Japheth, and he shall dwell in the tents of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant.” Genesis 9:25-27
  • God blessed Abraham by giving him lots of slaves (“servants” in the KJV), insisting that all the male slaves be circumscised. “And the LORD hath blessed my master [Abraham] greatly; and he is become great: and he hath given him flocks, and herds, and silver, and gold, and menservants, and maidservants, and camels, and asses.” Genesis 24:35 And he that is eight days old shall be circumcised among you, every man child in your generations, he that is born in the house, or bought with money of any stranger, which is not of thy seed. He that is born in thy house, and he that is bought with thy money, must needs be circumcised.” Genesis 17:12-13
  • When Sarah’s slave Hagar flees from Sarah who is mistreating her (with Abraham’s blessing), God sends an angel to tell her to go back to her abusive owner. “Abram said unto Sarai, Behold, thy maid is in thine hand; do to her as it pleaseth thee. And when Sarai dealt hardly with her, she fled from her face. … And he said, Hagar, Sarai’s maid, whence camest thou? and whither wilt thou go? And she said, I flee from the face of my mistress Sarai. And the angel of the LORD said unto her, Return to thy mistress, and submit thyself under her. hands.” Genesis 16:8-9
  • Abraham’s favorite son Isaac was also a proud slave owner. You can tell how great he was by how many slaves he owned. “Then Isaac sowed in that land, and received in the same year an hundredfold: and the LORD blessed him. And the man waxed great, and went forward, and grew until he became very great: For he had possession of flocks, and possession of herds, and great store of servants.” Genesis 26:12-14
  • God cursed the Gibeonites to be slaves of the Jews forever. “Now therefore ye are cursed, and there shall none of you be freed from being bondmen, and hewers of wood and drawers of water for the house of my God. … And Joshua made them that day hewers of wood and drawers of water for the congregation, and for the altar of the LORD, even unto this day.” Joshua 9:23-27

Rules for slave owners from the Hebrew Scriptures:

  • Don’t let any of your uncircumcised slaves eat the Passover meal. Exodus 12:44
  • Don’t covet your neighbor’s slaves. (It’s one of the the Ten Commandments.) Deuteronomy 5:21
  • When buying slaves, be sure to follow God’s instructions. Especially if you are a priest, buying a poor brother, or selling your daughter. Although special rules apply for Hebrew slaves, it’s always OK to buy foreigners, who can be inherited from one generation to another forever.If thou buy a Hebrew servant…. Exodus 21:2And if thy brother, an Hebrew man, or an Hebrew woman be sold unto thee…. Deuteronomy 15:12If the priest buy any soul with his money…. Leviticus 22:11And if thy brother that dwelleth by thee be waxen poor, and be sold unto thee…. Leviticus 25:39And if a man sell his daughter to be a maidservant…. Exodus 21:7Thy bond-men and thy bond-maids which thou shalt have, shall be of the heathen that are round about you: of them shall ye buy bond-men and bond-maids. Moreover, of the children of the strangers that do sojourn among you, of them shall ye buy, and of their families that are with you, which they begat in your land. And they shall be your possession. And ye shall take them as an inheritance for your children after you, to inherit them for a possession, they shall be your bond-man forever. Leviticus 25:44-46
  • But don’t get caught stealing a slave, or you’ll be put to death. Exodus 21:16 and Deuteronomy 24:7
  • It’s OK with God if you slowly beat your slaves to death. After all, they are your money. Just make sure that they survive at least a day or two after the beating. But try not to knock out their teeth or eyes. Otherwise you may have to set them free. Exodus 21:20-21 and Exodus 21:26-27
  • If your ox gores (“pushes” in the KJV) someone’s slave, pay the slave owner thirty shekels of silver. Exodus 21:32
  • Sell poor thiefs as slaves to pay for their theft. Exodus 22:2-
  • If a man has sex with an engaged slave woman, scourge the woman, but don’t punish the man, because she was a slave.And whosoever lieth carnally with a woman, that is a bondmaid, betrothed to an husband, and not at all redeemed, nor freedom given her; she shall be scourged; they shall not be put to death, because she was not free. Leviticus 19:20
  • Rules for obtaining slaves during wartime.When thou comest nigh unto a city to fight against it, then proclaim peace unto it. And it shall be, if it make thee answer of peace, and open unto thee, then it shall be, that all the people that is found therein shall be tributaries unto thee, and they shall serve thee. Deuteronomy 20:10-11But the women, and the little ones, and the cattle, and all that is in the city, even all the spoil thereof, shalt thou take unto thyself. Deuteronomy 20:14

The New Testament’s epistles approve of slavery and command slaves to obey their masters.

  • Art thou called being a servant? care not for it: but if thou mayest be made free, use it rather. For he that is called in the Lord, being a servant, is the Lord’s freeman: likewise also he that is called, being free, is Christ’s servant.” 1 Corinthians 7:21-22
  • Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh; not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but in singleness of heart, fearing God.” Ephesians 6:5
  • Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ.” Colossians 3:22
  • Masters, give unto your servants that which is just and equal; knowing that ye also have a Master in heaven.” Colossians 4:1
  • Let as many servants as are under the yoke count their masters worthy of all honor, that the name of God and his doctrine be not blasphemed. And they that have believing masters, let them not despise them, because they are brethren; but rather do them service, because they are faithful and beloved, partakers of the benefit. These things teach and exhort. If any man teach otherwise … he is proud, knowing nothing…. From such withdraw thyself.” 1 Timothy 6:1-5
  • Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh; not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but in singleness of heart, fearing God.” Titus 2:9-10
  • Servants, be subject to your masters with all fear, not only to the good and gentle, but also to the froward.” 1 Peter 2:18

This is why the primary leaders of the Abolitionist Movement in America based their ethics separated from the Bible. Please read Slavery, Abolitionism and the Ethics of Biblical Scholarship by Prof. Hector Avalos to learn more.

One quick example, recognize this Abolitionist leader?

Here’s what Douglas had to say about Christians, the religion and the Bible. As you read these, ask yourself, “does this sound like a guy who found a calling from the Bible to fight to end slavery?”

I prayed for twenty years but received no answer until I prayed with my legs.”

I can see no reason, but the most deceitful one, for calling the religion of this land Christianity. I look upon it as the climax of all misnomers, the boldest of all frauds, the grossest of all libels.” [Frederick Douglass, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave, Written by Himself]

I assert most unhesitatingly, that the religion of the South is a mere covering for the most horrid crimes– a justifier of the most appalling barbarity, a sanctifier of the most hateful frauds, and a dark shelter under which the darkest, foulest, grossest, and most infernal deeds of slaveholders find the strongest protection. Where I to be again reduced to the chains of slavery, next to that enslavement, I should regard being the slave of a religious master the greatest calamity that could befall me…I…hate the corrupt, slaveholding, women-whipping, cradle-plundering, partial and hypocritical Christianity of this land.” [Frederick Douglass, “After the Escape”]

We have men sold to build churches, women sold to support the gospel, and babes sold to purchase Bibles for the poor heathen, all for the glory of God and the good of souls. The slave auctioneer’s bell and the church-going bell chime in with each other, and the bitter cries of the heart-broken slave are drowned in the religious shouts of his pious master. Revivals of religion and revivals in the slave trade go hand in hand.” [Frederick Douglass, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave, Written by Himself]

God LOVES human sacrifice: Here is an example of human sacrificed that God planned and approved of,

And Jesus isn’t the only example. There are many examples were God approved, permitted and even demanded human sacrifices.

God APPROVES polygamy:

  • Lamech had two wives
  • Esu had two wives (Judith and Bashemath)
  • Jacob had multiple wives
  • Gideon had “many wives,” so many he had “threescore and ten sons.”
  • Elkanah had two wives (Hannah and Peninnah)
  • Solomon had 700 wives and 300 concubines (Holy shit balls!)
  • Ashur had two wives (Helah and Naarah)
  • Rehoboam had 18 wives, and “threescore” concubines.
  • Abijah had 14 wives.
  • Jehoiada had two wives.

God even gave David Saul’s wives. (He wouldn’t do that if he didn’t approve of polygamy.) 2 Samuel 12:7-8

God approved of polygamy so much that he set up rules for men who wanted to take another wife. Exodus 21:10

And God provided instructions for men that had two wives, “one beloved, and another hated.” Deuteronomy 21:15

Even Jesus (sometimes) seemed OK with polygamy. The parable of the ten virgins, for example involved a man and his ten brides. Matthew 25:1

God APPROVES of adultery: Think about it. Mary was already married to Joseph…. yet GOD HIMSELF impregnated Mary after she was married. That is by definition adultery, and God is the perpetrator.

Even if God gets off the hook, the fact remains that Joseph was not the father, yet Mary had a kid, and this kid would become the Messiah — and THAT means God approved of this child born of adultery. Behold everyone, Jesus the Bastard.

Even if we ignore Jesus, if God/Jesus was not okay with adultery, then why did Jesus tell an angry mob to disperse when they were about to stone an adulteress?

And we’re not done…

  • God told Hosea to commit adultery, saying “take … a wife of whoredoms and children of whoredoms” because the land has “committed great whoredom.” So Hosea did as God commanded and “took” a wife named Gomer. (Hosea 1:2 and Hosea 3:1)
  • God commanded Moses to kill all the male Midianites. After the army did that, Moses found out that they saved all the women alive. So he told them to go back and kill all the non-virgin Midianite women, but to save the “women children” alive for themselves. Numbers 31:1-18

God APPROVES of incest: If Barak Lurie is a Christian like he claims he is, he ought to know about Adam and Eve, and they had 2 sons…. and his sons god marred. Let that sink in.

The Bible does not say that God created more humans, it was just Adam, Eve, Able and Cain. So with Eve being the only female, the only options is that Cain and Able had sex with their mother, or Adam and Eve had daughters and those daughters married Cain and Abel. Either way, it’s incest.

And boy it is fun watching Christian apologists try to rationalize or excuse these clear-cut examples of Biblically-approved incest. Seriously, it’s hilarious:

 

You know, if we followed Michael’s logic above, when Cain killed Abel, technically it wasn’t murder! Because Murder wasn’t a thing yet before Mosaic Law. According to Michael, that should be the case. And yet in the Bible, after Cain kills Abel, God punished Cain… why would God punish Cain for an action that wasn’t condemned yet by Mosaic Law? Hmmmm…. Could it be that murder is murder and it was still wrong even before Mosaic Law was a thing? Huh, well how about that? By that extension, if murder was still wrong, wouldn’t incest also still be wrong even before Mosaic Law said incest is a bad thing? One would expect so, yet God was okay with Cain and Abel shagging their sisters. So did God change his mind? 

And if you think we’re done with the examples of incest-approved examples in the Bible, you thought wrong. Remember Noah? The guy with the big boat? Yeah, that Noah. See after the flood wiped out everything, he and his family were the only humans left alive… and they had to repopulate the world. Let that sink in for a few moments. Think about how many cousins had to shag their cousins.

And were not done…

  • Abraham, the father of Abrahamic faiths (Judaism, Christianity and Islam) married his half sister, Sarah. (Sarah and Abraham had the same father, Terah.) But God didn’t mind. He blessed their union, called her “a mother of nations.” (Genesis 20:12 and Genesis 17:16)
  • Moses and Aaron were the products of an incestuous marriage. (Their father, Amram, married his sister, Jochebed.) Exodus 6:20 and Moses was good enough for God to be his prophet.
  • Moses married his cousin. God didn’t care.
  • And Lot impregnated his daughters, while remaining just and righteous. (Genesis 19:30-36 and 2 Peter 2:7-8)

Most of my readers and most atheists have heard from Christians that God never changes (Malachi 3:6), and yet he changes his mind numerous times about many things. If God was absolutely moral, because morality was absolute, and if the nature of “right” and “wrong” surpassed space, time, and existence, and if it was a fundamental property of reality as math, then why were some things a sin in the OT but not a sin in the NT?

Another thing my readers and most atheists have heard of is the Divine Command Theory — which basically states that what is “right” or “wrong” is dictated by whatever God commands. But this argument shoots itself in the foot because it means today things like murder, theft, rape, incest and slavery is wrong, but tomorrow God can make all of those things “right” and acceptable. Which makes Christian morality based on the whims of God’s subjective views, and since Christians are expected to obey God in everything, even murder, that means Christianity is a form of moral dictatorship.

Again, nitpicking: “[The Bible] advances cleanliness and the notion of justice.”

While there are parts in the OT that instruct people to wash their hands, Jesus didn’t advocate cleanliness, not in the literal sense or even in the Mosaic sense. I’ll let this Rabbi prove it:

Lurie than says that if the Bible was a tool to control people, there would be a man manipulating the people while “hiding behind the curtain” like in Wizard of Oz. Lurie says there isn’t any man behind the curtain.

Lurie’s right, the men manipulating the people aren’t hiding behind a curtain, they are right in front of us in broad day light.

So we return to Marx’s quip about religion being an “opiate of the people” to control them. It begs the question: How so? The Judeo-Christian mindset fosters freedom and responsibility, self-betterment and education, justice and accountability, creativity and the delay of self-gratification.”

Wrong on all accounts, the Bible doesn’t offer ANY of those things. Rather, quiet the opposite.

Christianity against freedom: Like I already pointed out, Christianity is fascisitic to those who embrace it, and a threat to those who reject it.

It wasn’t all that long ago when same-sex marriages weren’t legal in the US, but before then it was not uncommon to hear from Christians who opposed same-sex marriages because it made them feel oppressed from being prohibited to oppress gay couples.

Very recently, a poll showed that 1/5 Americans believe atheists do not have equal rights as everyone else.

Christianity against responsibility: For years I have listened to apologists spin Christianity as a “rescue plan” but when you remove the sugar-coating, it’s nothing but a “Get Out of Jail Free” Card theology. Think about it. If you did something wrong, you should be responsible and pay the fine. Yet Christianity boasts that a guy 2,000 years ago took all your crimes and paid the fine, thereby relieving you of accountability and responsibility… the only thing you are expected to do is thank and praise the sacrificial lamb, or burn forever!!!!! That’s not a rescue plan, that’s a threat.

Christianity against self-betterment and education: Look no further than when God in Genesis made Adam and Eve without the knowledge of right and wrong, and then gets angry with them for doing a wrong thing when they didn’t know it was wrong to begin with. You’d think if Christianity was about self-betterment and education, God would’ve educated Adam and Eve with the knowledge of right and wrong was well before the “snake” was created. Isn’t that was a responsible parent does? Teach their kids what’s right and wrong, tell them about “stranger danger” and the concept of consequences?

Christianity against justice and accountability: Original Sin itself is a fly-in-the-face of accountability and justice.

Plus Christianity or Judaism didn’t invent justice and accountability. Anyone with a decent history knowledge and of ancient religions would know that. Take for instance Egyptian mythology. The Egyptians believed that when you died and met the god Osirius, he would weigh your heart on a scale with a feather of Ma’at, the goddess of order, truth, and righteousness. If your heart was heavy with wickedness, you would be eaten by the monster Ammit. In other words, if someone lived a wicked life and committed injustice in the world, the gods would judge you. That is recognition of the idea of justice and accountability: that the wicked should be punished.

There are so many examples that I can provide (and I will likely share them throughout this blog) of indefensible cases of violations of justice and accountability, but I’ll find room for one here. 2 Thessalonians 2:11 “For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie,” and Romans 9:8 says “Therefore God has mercy on whom He wants to have mercy, and He hardens whom He wants to harden”…in other words, God practices deception and mind-control, and punishes those he manipulates. Recall the Passover story, where Moses demands Pharaoh to let his people go. Pharaoh refuses so God sends the Ten Plagues, and yet despite all the suffering Pharaoh still says no…. because God “hardened” Pharaoh’s heart. No exaggeration, that is literally what the story says. In other words, God was using a form of mind-control to ensure that Pharaoh didn’t crack and say “No” all the way until the final plague killed all the first-born children of Egypt, from Pharaoh’s child to the Egyptian at the mill at the end of town. He slew them all. God punishes children, yet it was Pharaoh -not the children- who said “no,” and that is because God made Pharaoh say “no.” So God orchestrated the whole thing for no reason just to make the Egyptians suffer. Where is the justice there? Where is God’s accountability, concerning he is the one who committed “mind-control” and took away Pharaoh’s free-will as an excuse to kill countless innocent bystanders.

I once heard Dennis Prager argue that the translation for “harden” can also mean “strengthen” so Prager argues that God gave Pharaoh extra-free-will to ignore the terror of the plagues… but that perhaps makes God more evil than ever. God influencing evil men to ignore suffering and allowing them to soldier on as the body count rises… just replace Pharaoh with Hitler and ask yourself if that makes God look any better? Regardless if God was using “mind control” or “giving free-will,” the end result is that Pharaoh was not using his own free-will, it was manipulated with the intent for him to not say “no” which would have ended the plagues much sooner and saved many lives. Exodus 4:21 says God knew well ahead of time that his godly actions would manipulate the Pharaoh (“but I will harden his heart so that he will not let the people go”). This story is indefensible: God manipulates people to permit and orchestrate suffering on entire nations. Who needs a Satan when a monster like God rules everything?

At this point, if believers are thinking “yeah but God does not have to be held accountable,” I ask why is that? Because he’s God? So God has all the power, can kill whoever he wants, manipulate whoever he wants, and can’t be held responsible for anything. If the word “dictator” doesn’t apply here, then that word has no meaning. If God (the so-called very being of right and wrong) has no accountability, then why should we care about accountability?

Christianity against creativity: Look no further than the Tower of Babel story. Want to create a high tower? Get cursed as a result.

Want to craft a gold calf and dance around it? Nope, you’ll get slaughtered for that.

Christianity against the delay of self-gratification: Jesus and the expensive oils. Rather than selling the oils to feed the hungry, Jesus indulged in fulfilling and satisfying his own desire to be lathered in oils. Looks like not even the sinless messiah is capable of escaping seeking fulfillment of personal desires. Maybe that’s why he hung around guys and prostitutes, having parties and turning water to wine.

Perhaps most importantly—and most inconsistent with the “controller” mantra—the Bible encourages and celebrates resistance to tyranny, idolatry and human sacrifice.” (pg. 114)

Does Lurie not realize that the Bible says Jesus was a man, and Jesus sacrificed himself for the sins of humanity? That is a human sacrifice, the entire Christian theology centers around that. Christians wear crosses as necklaces. They are literally wearing a symbol of capital punishment, and praising it as a reminder of a special human sacrifice.

If the Bible “encourages and celebrates tyranny” then why does God act like a tyrant? Tyranny in simplest terms is a cruel oppressive government. If God is the “governor” of the world, he oppresses humans left and right. I earlier shared about Pharaoh being mind-controlled, and killed children as a result of Pharaoh doing the very thing he was mind-controlled to do.

God’s Hostile to Science?

The claim that the church somehow opposed science does not fly: On the contrary, Catholics gave us some of the most important scientists of all time, including:

  • Rene Descartes
  • Blaise Pascal
  • Augustinian priest Gregor Mendel
  • Louis Pasteur
  • Nicolaus Copernicus
  • Jesuit priests
  • Georges Lemaitre
  • Alexander Flemming
  • Jean-Baptiste Lamarck

So it is difficult to square the numerous devout Catholics in science with the charge that the Catholic Church opposed scientific knowledge and progress.” (pgs. 115-117)

And yet not one of these examples that Lurie shares ever made a “discovery” provided by their theism. None of them cracked open their Bibles and found what RNA is or how many moons orbit Jupiter, or even that the universe started with the Big Bang. Independent ancient civilizations produced their own versions of chemistry thousands of years before Christ, and even before the time Young Earth Creationists believe Adam was formed. The protoscience of chemistry starts with Alchemy, which has its historical roots in Hellenistic Egypt.

Catholics becoming scientists is not special, but the discoveries they unlock is due to science and the scientific method, not through revelations or prayer.

Lurie then states, “There was a date certain before which “science” did not exist and a date certain after which there was “science…. Contrary to the notion of a division between science and faith, it was the Church that developed what we now consider “science” the way we think of it.” (pg. 117) Lurie goes off to argue that Christians built universities.”

it was the Church that developed what we now consider “science” the way we think of it“…. BULLSHIT. I hope this guy is decent in doing his homework working in law, if not then I advise people to go to the lawyers office next door.

If he had done any scholarly work (as a scholar is obliged to do) he would quickly learn that his key premise is utter rubbish. The truth is that the Greeks and Romans achieved tremendous and continual advances in science and mathematics after Aristotle. Here are a few examples:

  • Aristotle performed numerous dissection and vivisection experiments in animal anatomy and physiology – composing the most scientific range of zoological works then known.
  • His successor, Theophrastus, extended this work to botany and plant physiology, and produced the earliest known works in pyrology, mineralogy, and other fields.
  • His successor, Strato of Lamsacus, extended their experimental method to machines and physics – by which many of Aristotle’s physical theories were altered or abandoned.
  • A research institute was built in Alexandria, Egypt in the third century BCE, in which Ctesibius and Philo completed the first known scientific works in experimental pneumatics.
  • Eratosthenes invented the science of cartography and was one of the first scientists in history to measure the diameter of the earth (he was off by 15% – not bad), and he analyzed the effect of the moon on the tides. (Somebody better tell Bill O’Reilly that the question why the “tides come in, tides go out” was already answered in the third century BCE. But hey! At least O’Reilly and Lurie have something in common. They both suck at history.)
  • Herophilus became the first scientist to dissect human cadavers. Also, he and his pupil Erasistrus originated neurophysiology, establishing with detailed experiments that the mind is a function of the brain and the specific mental functions were controlled in specific areas of the brain, and they distinguished motor from sensory nerves and mapped them throughout the body. Altogether, their study of the human body and its bones, muscles, and organs, was so thorough that we still use much of their anatomical terminology.
  • In Sicily, their colleague Archimedes was advancing sciences of mechanics and hydrostatics, and discovering, describing, or explaining the first mathematical laws of physics.
  • Aristarchus began measuring the distances of the moon, sun and planets, and proposed the first heliocentric theory.
  • In Rhodes, Hipparchus discovered and measured celestial precession, observed the first supernova, established the first detailed scientific star charts, made numerous advances in planetary theory, and developed the first scientific system for predicting lunar and solar eclipses.
  • Seleucus of Babylon discovered the effect of the sun on the tides (not just the moon), and developed the first mathematical lunisolar tide theory.

During the Roman Empire, science reached its pinnacle of achievement, producing works not exceeded until the Scientific Revolution. Just to name a few,

  • Dioscorides in botany, mineralogy, and pharmacology
  • Hero in mathematics, pneumatics, and theatrical robotics
  • Ptolemy in astronomy, cartography, optics, and harmonics
  • Galen in anatomy, physiology, and medicine

Christianity as is clearly not responsible for the invention of science. When the cause is in place, its effect is seen. The religion dominated the whole of the Western world from the fifth to the fifteenth century, and yet in all those thousand years there was no scientific revolution. Nor did any scientific revolution occur in Eastern Christian world, such as the Byzantine Empire, even though the East was just as prosperous and largely peaceful for five centuries.

Apologists may dismiss Byzantines as somehow the “wrong kind” of Christians (Lynn White Jr. “What Accelerated Technological Progress in the Western Middle Ages?” in Scientific Change, ed. A. C. Crombie (New York: Basic Books, 1963(pg.272-91)); however, in addition to being a No true Scotsman fallacy, the point remains that largely Christian civilizations took over a thousand years to develop science.

The ancient Greeks were the first to use science, in fact they invented reason (in the very sense he means, developing the formal sciences of logic, philosophy, mathematics, and rhetoric). Nevertheless, the scientific method was first formally described centuries later by Francis Bacon. Certainly most of the early scientists of the Renaissance were Christian (i.e., Galileo and Newton). However, the church was often openly hostile to scientific inquiry and on guard for potential heresy. While not always openly hostile to science, the both the Catholic and Protestant churches were quick to attempt to silence anything that appeared to contradict Biblical history, as in the cases of Galileo and Charles Darwin). The Vatican Observatory didn’t come into existence until 1891, and not for scientific inquiry but to establish a better calendar to determine the time to celebrate religious events.

As for his last remarks about Catholics making universities… so what? Muslims created universities, so do Hindus. By Lurie’s poor logic, that would mean that science as we know if was created by Islam.

Lurie then argues that the church saw itself as allies of reason and science, and cites a line from the Vatican Council (1869/70) that “Faith and reason are of mutual help to each other.””

The church opposed heliocentrism for centuries until 1835 when they removed all traces of opposition to the facts from their index.

At the trial of Galileo in 1615, Cardinal Bellarmino said,

To assert that the earth revolves around the sun is as erroneous as to claim that Jesus was not born of a virgin.” – Cardinal Bellarmino

The Judgment of the Holy Inquisition ruled,

The first proposition, that the sun is the centre and does not revolve around the earth, is foolish, absurd, false in theology, and heretical, because expressly contrary to Holy Scripture. The second proposition, that the earth is not the centre but revolves around the sun, is absurd, false in philosophy, and from a theological point of view at least, opposed to the true faith.” – the Judgment of the Holy Inquisition

So basically, the Vatican finally started to metaphorically “pull it’s giant head out of it’s ass” after years of their unscientific stances being debunked by science, making them look like the “losing” side, so they had to re-brand themselves as rationalists who accept science wherever it leads — which is historically false.

Lurie then arguese that religious scientists pursued science because they were answering a “calling from their faith.”

Really? Okay, name the chapter and verse that tells people to seek out how the natural world works.

If there is none, then the “drive” to learn more about the natural world wasn’t coming from their religion or faith, it was a separate drive in of itself. It’s called curiosity, something that even ancient hunter-gatherer humans had, it lead them out of Africa to discover knew lands. Then when they looked skyward, they were curious about the sun and the stars. And this curiosity kept growing and manifested in next generations.

Lurie says that atheists never seek out any scientific truths because atheism, Lurie argues, no inherent sense of duty, mission, or community due to lack of purpose. He then challenges his readers to do some “homework” to find any innovations under communism and fascism “or under any godless society.”

A) Sense of duty to community doesn’t come from religion or lack thereof, it’s a inherent human condition. We all, including atheists, have a sense of community because we are social animals. Social animals have duties to each other, and a civil social group’s mission is to thrive. So when Lurie says that atheists lack a sense of duty to community, he is essentially saying that atheists are not human.

B) How is it that when Lurie makes his case, he doesn’t argue that science was advanced under a religious society, rather he would just provide a list of names and point to quotes and actions from the church (which is a church, not a society. More like a club house). But when it comes to atheists, he wants examples of scientific advancements under whole societies instead of asking for a list of atheist scientists.

Quiet the double standard.

Yeah, But Then Again, What Has Religion Ever Done For Us?

In this section, Lurie asks the question what has religion done for us, to which Lurie states that an atheist wouldn’t know an answer because it never dawned on any of them to ever ponder such a question.

That is an odeus lie, we engage that question ALL THE DAMN TIME, does Lurie think we’ve never talked to a theist our whole lives living on a planet with billions of theists?

Back and forth we engage them, where quiet often they will list all the “good” things religion has done for us, and we just might be add a few things that we are aware of (such as the town church acting as a center for community works) while we also remind the theists that most if not ALL of those “good” things religion has done for us can also be achieved through secular means.

And then Lurie dives into Crazy Town. Here are 3 quotes from this section that display Lurie’s colossal igorance.

Quote 1: “It was the Jews who created the judicial system and notion of justice as we think of it today.” (pg. 120)

Behold the Code of Hamurabi. A code of 282 legal and judicial laws that is 1000 years older than Judaism.

Our Judicial system and notion of justice “as we think of it today” is more influenced by the Vikings than Judaism. I don’t know if universities ever have a “history of law” course undergraduates can take, but if they do then either Barak Lurie didn’t take it or he slept through the part where the English word “Law” actually comes from the Vikings. That’s right. And they had their own judicial governing assembly, literally called “the thing” and they set all this up without hearing anything about Moses.

Quote 2: “It was Judaism that gave us the basic moral code of the Ten Commandments, the foundation of most everything that even the atheist speaks of when he talks of morality.” (pg. 120)

There is so much wrong in here. Since this book was forwarded by Dennis Prager, I guess I’ll provide a response that covers both Lurie’s line as well as more BS spewed by Prager.

Kudos to Aron Ra for this excellent video. He has done a full presentation examining the 10 Commandments, which I HIGHLY recommend watching, which you can find here.

Quote 3: “It was the Jews who gave us the notion of time.” (pgs. 120-121)

Calender’s function under the premise that there is time, and that time is separated by days, weeks, months and years.

The oldest calendar created by humans were not the Jews. The earliest known lunar calendar was found at Warren Field in Scotland and has been dated to 8000 BCE, during its Mesolithic period.

So unless Lurie thinks Moses is a Time Traveler, he’s full of shit.

The “God of the Gaps”

Lurie says that atheists note that the more we discover about nature, certain gods become debunked. But Lurie argues that his God is not a “nature” God like the other pagan gods, but rather a God that exists “outside of and above nature.” Lurie then admits, “This point alone of course doesn’t prove the existence of God, but it rebuts the notion that God—the Judeo-Christian God—is somehow the caboose in a long line of gods before Him. This God is different. He has no similarity to the “nature” gods who preceded Him.” (pg. 125)

Without realizing it, Lurie just made his God even less believable then the gods disproven by science. Claiming that God exists outside the universe is just that, a claim with no proof whatsoever to substantiate it. Saying that some sentient entity exists independent outside of the universe without proof holds just as much weight as some dude yelling on a soap box that his three-headed god exists outside the universe (and by extension, same applies to any theoretically infinite number gods). Still it also means that it is just as likely as no entity at all existing outside the universe. With no proof, theists might as well believe in Freddy Kruger. And if Lurie isn’t going to provide any evidence, as Hithens Razor says, “that which can be claimed without evidence can be dismissed without evidence.”

Another attribute of God that does not make any sense to me is the claim that God is spaceless and timeless. To say that God can exist spacelessly and timelessly seems to be the same as saying God can exist nowhere and never. If God created space-time of his own free will, then he must be capable of existing in the absence of space-time. That makes no sense to me. I don’t know what it means for something to exist in the absence of space-time, or at the very least some kind of an extension through some kind of dimension. But I am especially confused when by the idea that a conscious mind can exist without space-time. A conscious mind is always in motion, it’s always in flux. I don’t know how something that is completely static can be considered a conscious mind. Consciousness is a process, it’s an event. If God is timeless and some would also say changeless, then I don’t know what it would mean for a god to have a conscious mind. A changeless conscious mind is inconceivable to me. William Lane Craig said that matter and energy cannot exist timelessly like God can because matter and energy are never quiescent, matter and energy never stop changing and therefore they cannot be timeless. A conscious mind is never quiescent either, and I cannot conceive of a conscious mind that is quiescent, that seems like a contradiction to me. I see no conceptual difference between a quiescent mind and a unconscious one. If the fact that matter and energy are never quiescent, that means that matter and energy cannot be timeless, then a conscious mind also cannot be timeless.

Lurie then tries to compare and contrast his God with the other pagan gods, but making it appear that his God is unique in many ways. It’s a rather dull comparison, but then we get to this gem: “

The Judeo-Christian God demands justice and expects that we be good to each other. By contrast, the gods demanded only your loyalty.

” (pg. 125)

How is it that Lurie, a lawyer, has never seen one of these? Or even a photo of one during his studies at law school? Seriously, what kind of bubble is he living in? The Greek/Roman goddes Justice should be evident that the notion of justice was important to the pagans.

Justice is always important to cultures all across Europe, Asia Minor, Africa, and elsewhere. There are so many examples it could be a book. The Sophocles tragedy with Antigone.

Ever heard of King Sisyphus rolling a stone up the mound for eternity? How do you think he ended up in that pickle? He killed guests, seduced his niece, and ratted on Zeus himself.

Or what about King Tantalus? He ended up in Tartarus because he cut up his son and served him as food to the gods, then he stole from the gods. He was punished to stand in a pool of water beneath a fruit tree with low branches. Whenever he reached for the fruit, the branches would raise up beyond his reach. Whenever he bent down to get a drink, the water receded before he could get any. (Key facts: 1) the myth of Tantalus is where the word “tantalize” comes from and 2) The word tartaroō (Tarturus) appears in 2nd Peter 2:4. Greek Hellenization is one of the key contributors to the creation of the myth of Hell within the Christian mystery cult. In Plato’s Socratic Dialogue called Gorgias, Socrates introduces the idea that the Titan Cronos judged men just before they died which was later replaced by Zeus to the the Judge. The righteous were sent to the Isles of the Blessed whereas the unjust were sent to tartaroō.)

Seriously, even a child’s mythology book can show you that there is a whole list of “gods/godessess of justice” and deities who may not have that title, but they nevertheless judged the wicked and righteous and punished those who did bad. Tyr, Zeus, Shiva, Athena, Inanna, Isthar, and more. You’ll be hard pressed to find a culture with a pantheon of gods and goddesses that don’t have a deity of law, order, and/or justice.

READ A FUCKING BOOK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Oh wait, there’s more: “The Judeo-Christian God isn’t capricious or mean; on the contrary, humans can expect to reason with Him. There was no such predictability or reasoning with the gods. The Judeo-Christian God wants you to be free. There was no such concern from the gods.” (pg. 126)

What is this guy smoking?

Not capricious or mean, then WTH do you call burning people for infinity for a finite crime? Go back and read how the Bible supports slavery. Is Lurie unaware that the God of the Bible made humans eat their own children at least 7 times?

Seriously, in what context can making parents eat their own children be considered not mean? If forcing parents to eat their own children is not to be considered mean, then the word “mean” has no meaning.

What did the Egyptians think of Yahweh as Yahweh controlled the Pharaoh to keep saying “No” only to invite more carnage and plagues upon them? Did they think God was a “nice guy” as he plagued them with mosquitoes and flies; covered them with boils; ruined their crops and cattle and made their drink undrinkable… and then killed the children? What could they have possibly thought of Yahweh? (If you are thinking “well, the Egyptians supported slavery” yeah, so did GOD! Right after the Exodus, Yahweh permitted the Israelites to own a human being as property and make them work for them. So in God’s eyes, if he is consistent and never changing, then God had no issue with slavery itself, he was only pissed that it was done to the Israelites… but even that, that makes no sense considering after the Exodus, Nebuchadnezzar and the Babylonians enslaved the Israelites again and God called Nebuchadnezzar his “servant” (Jer. 25:8-9 and 43:10) and which means God used Nebuchadnezzar to enslave his Chosen People. God sent a famine to push the Israelites into Egypt where they became slaves, brought them out of Egypt then later put them back into slavery under Babylon. So what’s the point of being upset with the Egyptians when God permits the Babylonians to enslave his people? What’s the reason, what’s the point??? Why should God punish the Egyptians for putting the Israelitess into a situation he orchestrated? Looks like God only wanted to punish the Egyptians for no reason other than because…. he’s a capricious monster.)

Humans can reason with God? Really??? Can a life-long non-believer or a Hindu reason his way into Heaven? If so, then Jesus’ sacrifice was pointless. If not, then you can’t reason with God. You can’t say “Hey I was raised a Hindu, I felt the presence of Vishnu at age 7, and lived a good life as a doctor. My faith is rational, I’ve thought long and hard about it, all the evidence pointed to it. Why punish me for not making yourself known to me?” Will that fly with God? Every Christian I’ve talked to says “No,” because they answer, “Jesus is the only way to eternal life, he is the way and the life.”

There is no sign of reasoning with God in the Bible. When Adam and Eve sinned, God didn’t try to reason with them, he showed no sympathy or mercy, or even an iota of understanding like, “calm down Adam and Eve. I get it, you were tricked into a crime. That’s called Entrapment, and you’re the victims. Don’t worry, I forgive you. I love you. Plus it’s a bit my fault, I could’ve planted that tree on Mars, cuz I can. I’m God after all.” (When God kicked Adam and Eve out of the garden, Genesis 3:24 says God placed a cherubim angel with a flaming sword to guard the Tree of Life so Adam and Eve couldn’t go near it… which begs the question: why didn’t God have a cherubim angel guard the Tree of Knowledge from the very start??? Think about that. It could’ve killed the snake on the spot when it attempted to trick Adam and Eve to eat from the tree. Ergo, no Fall. Problem solved. Seriously, is God an imbecile? Sure looks that way.)

At best, Abraham haggled with God over Sodom (look how that turned out, like haggling with Hitler to not invade Poland), at the lowest, Jacob wrestled with angel (who cheated by punching Jacob in the bollocks. Apparently God plays dirty). But reason with? HA! When did God sit down have a committee meeting with humanity? Never. The God character always dictates the law, because he is a dictator. When God told Abraham to sacrifice his own son, Abraham was expected to do so. He didn’t try to reason with God, he just obeyed. When God was killing the bastard son of David for a full week, David fasted and wrapped himself in sack and ashes trying to show his sorrow to God, but God did not listen and killed the child after seven days of torturing the child. Reasoning with God must be according to His will. “Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us” (I John 5:14). Jesus Christ said, “I do not seek My own will but the will of the Father who sent Me” (John 5:30). So when Moses convinced God to not wipe out all the Israelites for the crime of idolatry, Moses only made that happen by killing thousands of Jews himself to spare the rest….. not once did they try to reason with God saying, “what the fuck is your problem? Death for idols? Death for a victimless crime? What the fuck is that?”

It’s like the old Scottish tale/joke of a Scottish boy who refused to eat two nasty shriveled prunes on his plate. His mother warned him that if he didn’t eat them like she tells him to, God will be angry, but the boy still refused and was sent to his room. Once he gets there, the sky bursts with thunder and lightning crashing around them. The mother expects the kid to be scared and will be willing to listen to her, but when she enters the boy’s room, instead of finding him terrified and burrowed under the covers, the boy is standing calmly looking out the window at the thunderous sky. The boy shakes his head and says in a incredulous voice, “really God? All this fuss for not eating two shriveled prunes?”

Humans couldn’t expect to reason with the pagan gods? Then how does Lurie explain how Orpheus managed to convince Hades, lord of the dead, to give him the chance to take his wife back to the land of the living?

What does Lurie think “prayer” is? It’s basically humans sending wishes to the gods. Why bother doing that if you can’t reason or convince the gods?

Taking Things Literally

Lurie finds it “interesting” that atheists think they know how different faiths interpret their holy books.

Because we come from those faiths, socialize with many other atheists with backgrounds from different faiths, and even read and research other faiths. We know that humans can interpret their holy books liberally and loosely as metaphorically as they can all the way to the other end of the spectrum of the Bible being 100% inerant and literal.

For example,

Bhagitavita is complete. Vedic knowledge is infallible. Here is an example of how the Hindus accept Vedic knowledge as complete. Cow dung is sacred, according to Vedic scripture. If one touches the dung of an animal, he must bathe his whole body, and yet cow dung can purify an impure place or person, according to Vedic scripture. This means contradictory, but because it is a Vedic injunction, we accept it, and by that acceptance, we make no mistake. It has been found in modern chemists that cow dung is a composition of antiseptic properties. Vedic knowledge is complete, because it is above all doubts or errors.” – A.C. Bahktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

Above all doubts or errors, infallible and complete…. this is not reasonable, this is dogmatic.

In comparison, Carl Sagain said, “[Science’s] only sacred truth is that there are no sacred truths. All assumptions must be critically examined. Arguments from authority are worthless. Whatever is inconsistent with the facts – no matter how fond of it we are – must be discarded or revised.”

It is hard to see how ridiculous faith is when a lot of us have been brought up to embrace it.

By definition, no apparent, perceived, or claimed evidence in any field, including history and chronology, can be valid if it contradicts the Scriptural record.

–Answersingenesis.org

“verbal inspiration guarantees that these writings, as originally and miraculously given, are infallible and completely authoritative on all matters with which they deal, free from error of any sort, scientific and historical as well as moral and theological.”

–Institute for Creation Research

“[this school]…stresses the Word of God as the ONLY source of truth in our world.

–Canyon Creek Christian Academy, Richardson TX.

“We believe that the autographs of the 66 canonical books of the Bible are objectively inspired, infallible and the inerrant Word of God in all of their parts and in all matters of which they speak (history, theology, science, etc.).”

–Mark Cadwallader’s “Creation Moments.org”

The Bible is the divinely inspired written Word of God. Because it is inspired throughout, it is completely free from error–scientifically, historically, theologically, and morally. Thus it is the absolute authority in all matters of truth, faith, and conduct. The final guide to the interpretation of the Bible is the Bible itself. God’s world must always agree with God’s Word, because the Creator of the one is the Author of the other. Thus, where physical evidences from the creation may be used to confirm the Bible, these evidences must never be used to correct or interpret the Bible. The written Word must take priority in the event of any apparent conflict.”

–Mark Ramsey’s “Greater Houston Creation Association.”

Revealed Truth: That which is revealed in Scripture, whether or not man has scientifically proved it. If it is in the Bible, it is already true without requiring additional proof.

Fallacy: that which contradicts God’s revealed truth, no matter how scientific, how commonly believed, or how apparently workable or logical it may seem.

–Bob Jones University, Biology Student Text (3rd ed. – 2 vol.)

Any so-called “truth” in conflict with God’s Truth is no truth at all; it is a lie, a manifestation of the one great Lie that tells us the God of the Bible is not the one God and King over all. The war between the Truth and “truths” is really the war between Truth and the Lie.”

Campus Crusade for Christ blog by Tom Gilson

http://www.breakpoint.org/features-columns/breakpoint-columns/entry/2/17783

Every creationist group and organization post declarations of this kind: admissions of bias. Proudly posted as if this is something to be proud of. Notice that they all admit that they will automatically and thoughtlessly reject without consideration, any and all evidence that which may presented should it appear to disagree with their a priory preconceived conclusion. (The last one was posted on the groups blogpost than rather on their website).

Lurie is curious as to how atheists have reached the conclusion about how religious folk interpret their holy books. He wonders if they did any research or talk to people of other faiths. He dismisses atheists conclusions as “intellectual laziness” because, Lurie states, most religions don’t take their stories literally. He uses the Bible’s creation story as an example, “the creation story of the Bible that God created the universe in six days is expansive in meaning: “days” does not refer to our present notion of six twenty-four-hour periods. That is simplistic.”

And yet near half (4 out of 10) Americans disagree with Lurie. They believe in a 6,000 year old Earth, a literal Noah’s Flood, a literal Adam and Eve. Some even go further and believe in a real Tower of Babel, a real Exodus, and even the Earth is the center of the universe and/or the Earth is flat like a plate.

I invite Lurie to have a chat with Ken Ham over interpreting Scripture, see who is being “simplistic.” This is what Ken Ham would likely say in response to Lurie, “The Hebrew word for day, yom, can mean an ordinary day or an indefinite period of time. It should be made clear that the word for day in Genesis can never mean a long period in the definite sense. It can mean something longer than a day, but only in the indefinite sense (e.g., in the time of the Judges, in the day of the Lord). Exodus 20:11 tells us that God created the universe in six days and rested on one as a pattern for man. This is the reason God took as long as six days to make everything. He set the seven-day week pattern for us, which we still use today. God did not say He worked for six million years and rested for one million years, telling us to do the same. It makes even less sense to suggest he worked for six indefinite periods of time. There are many other aspects at which we could look to show that the days must be ordinary days. For example, Adam was created on day six. He lived through day six, and day seven, and died when he was 930 years old. If each day were a million years, there are big problems here, too. It also needs to be made clear that the passage in 2 Peter 3:8, that compares a day to a thousand years is not defining the word “day” as a thousand years. In fact, taken in context, 2 Peter 3:8 has nothing to do with the days of creation, but with the fact that God is outside time. The word “day,” when first used in Genesis, cannot be symbolic. A word cannot be used symbolically the first time it is used. It can only be used symbolically when it first has a defined literal meaning. It is given this defined literal meaning in Genesis chapter 1, the first time it is used. Also, the words used for the “evening” and “morning” can only mean exactly that. In Genesis 1:14–19, concerning the fourth day of creation, the word “day” is used five times in relation to days, nights, seasons, and years. If the word “day” here doesn’t mean an ordinary day, it makes absolute nonsense of the way it is used in these passages.” (The Lie, Ken Ham, pg. 152)

Regardless if the Bible is interpreting literally like Ken Ham does or as metaphorically and liberally as Lurie tries to, either way it is easy to disprove the creation myth of the Bible using science.

God–The Guarantor of Only Good Things?

Opens with the old joke of a faithful man in a town that is hit with a flood. The man denies a series of people offering to help, proclaiming God will save him. But he drowns and dies, and furiously asks God why he didn’t save him. God answers that he sent help multiple times. Lurie says the atheist focuses too much on the evil (diseases, fires, psychopaths, etc) whereas the theist focuses on the good (firefighters, doctors, soldiers, etc). He says “In a sense, none of these people would even exist without the existence of their evil counterparts.” (pg. 129)

None of these things would exist if there really was a omnibenevolent, just and loving God. Yet they do. Ergo, either God doesn’t exist or God is basically identical to a demon that allows evil to exist.

Doctors exist because diseases exist, but doctors would love to eradicate all illnesses if possible. Firefighters would prefer to live in a world without fire hazards. An all-powerful omnibenevolent God is capable of eradicating all evil and suffering, basically creating a permanent omnipresent Heaven, but nope. This means, assuming there is a god at all, that they either are not powerful enough to create a good world, or they intended for suffering to exist which makes the deity malevolent.

“[The atheist] sidesteps any discussion of God’s existence whatsoever because of his demand that God must deliver a perfect world—a world entirely without evil. “If God is so good and powerful, why hasn’t he eradicated all evil and bad fortune, and particularly against innocent children?” But who said God’s role is only to provide goodness to the world? Nowhere in the Bible does it say God will bestow a perfect life for all who are kind or innocent. Nowhere. This “God means no bad things” argument is entirely the construct of the atheist.” Later Lurie says, “But the atheist has decided the definition and standard of God is, and then proclaims Him not to exist because God has not met that standard.” At the end, Lurie concludes with “This is what he thinks God is supposed to do. Defining what God is and then slamming God for not meeting that definition is the ultimate “straw man” argument.”

The argument “God means no bad things” is a response argument to the belief of Christians that God is omnibenevolent. Omnibenevolent creator by definition means no bad things. Ever. Yet there are bad things, which means it is logically contradictory to the faith of Christians.

Christians also believe that God is omnipresent, which means occupies all areas of space. Okay, if God takes up every cubic meter of space all the way to subatomic levels in the entire universe, and is omnibenevolent, that would mean that omnibenevolence fills and occupies every cubic meter to subatomic levels. This means every part of space is good, and “omni” by definition means no shred of bad. This is logically contradicted by reality, otherwise swimmers, divers, and astronauts wouldn’t need a supply of oxygen or people wouldn’t die from consuming a poisonous mushroom.

Even if we forget the omnibenevolent omnipresent part, Christians also believe their God is perfect. Yet he makes an imperfect creation, which is logically contradictory because a perfect being cannot begat imperfection.

Let’s ignore the “God is perfect” and address the belief that God is “incorruptible.” These same theists believe that God has “Free will,” which means it is possible to possess both free will and be incorruptible. Yet, Christians tell us that we were created in “God’s image.” They believe God gave us free will, yet for some reason God did not make humans incorruptible like him.

And Christians believe that God is omniscient or at least can see the future, which means when he created humans corruptible, he knew that humans would Fall and suffer, yet he made them anyway. Which means he intended his creations to suffer.

And THAT is where all claims of God being “good” go out the window, and God is called “good” over and over again in the Bible and in churches. If God were “good” there would be no “bad things.”

This whole case isn’t a “construct of the atheist,” it is all a logical response to the very tenets and beliefs built by Christians. If Christians believed that God was omni-malevolent, that would mean there would be no good in the world, but the atheist would point out there is in fact good in the world, which logically means that the Christian God is a logical contradiction.

the atheist has decided the definition and standard of God is“… in other words, Lurie argues that atheists completely made up these “definitions” of God (omnibenevolent, omniscient, omnipotent, good, etc). Lurie is lying. Atheists don’t “make up” these definitions, we hear them from theists and churches, and we respond accordingly.

Don’t take my word for it. Google “church statement of faith” and pick whatever trait you want (omnipresent, omniscient, etc) and see the number of hits you get, go read the churches tell you that they believe God is X, Y, Z. Atheists didn’t write those statements of faith, the believers did.

Look, I just did myself. This is from Cover the Children, a ministry in Los Angeles on a mission to feed and clothe families:

Lurie got his education at UCLA. Okay, if you go to UCLA you’ll find a lot of things that prove Lurie wrong. For instance, the Fiat Lux journal produced by UCLA undergraduates. Click here and read their statement of faith, notice how they describe God and the Holy Spirit exactly the way Lurie says Christians never do. There’s more where that came from. UCLA is surrounded by churches, synagogues and religious offices. I should know, I’ve seen them. (Btw, if you’re in the area, you gotta try the cookies at Ditty Reese, they’re to die for. The lines get Looonnnggg, so get there early). And when you explore just the outside of UCLA, you’ll bump into people trying to faith-heal you on the spot (not making that up, I told the 4 of them to walk over to the Reagan hospital–we could all see it, it was a block away. I told them to go in there if their magic really works. They didn’t and stated pulling excuses–not surprising) or people handing out religious pamphlets that describe God exactly the way Lurie says Christians never do. Even if you get the ones that that don’t describe God, if you ask the Christians yourself, they will tell you “oh yeah, God is all-powerful and perfect. He knows all too, he has a grand plan for everything. Even if you don’t think he’s around or can hear you, he is everywhere. He is a good God, and he will enter your life if you embrace him.”

And it’s not just the churches who make these claims, it’s the Christian apologists who argue that God has all these traits. Does Lurie want to put on his tin-foil hat and claim it’s a huge atheist conspiracy where atheists masquerade as church leaders and best-selling apologists just to paint God in a false manner?

What I cannot understand is that Lurie expects this book to be read by Christians… did it ever cross his mind that this book is going to land in the hands of Christians who believe God is perfect, omnipotent, omniscient, incorruptible, good, etc and go to churches who preach that exact belief? Now they will be reading a book by Lurie who will tell them “it’s all an atheist lie, the atheist made up these definitions of God” while believing God is almighty, perfect and good. So what are they meant to do at this point? Are they going to believe their faith that God is almighty, perfect and good, or are they going to believe Lurie and start believing their God is limited, imperfect, and not always good?

To Dream the Impossible Dream

Now Lurie wants to do a little thought experiment and assume that God is meant to create a perfect world. The first question he asks is: “just what evil should God be stopping?” Next he asks the atheists: “What amount of “bad” is acceptable to you? Ice cream headaches? Stubbing your toe? People who let their dogs do their business on your lawn?” (pg. 132)

Lurie is basically highlighting that there are varying degrees of suffering, and wonders at what point does the atheist say things are bad enough that there cannot be a God and at what point is there enough bad in the world where God is still acceptable.

My answer: if there was a omnibenevolent omnipresent God, there would not be any small degree of evil by definition. There you go.

Think about it. Christians believe that God is incorruptible yet has free-will, so why weren’t we created in this incorruptible image? Why are we down here in these bizarre fragile bodies being infected, beaten, starved, raped, tortured and murdered while this supposed Creator enjoyed free choice devoid of all suffering?

Anyway, Lurie then asks if God made genocide impossible and unimaginable, he then basically says “weeelllll, what about murder and torture?” So he expands the limitations to make murder and torture impossible, and continues this on and on in regards to self-defense, rape, mugging, gangs, steal, fraud, gossip, disease, famine, natural disasters, financial troubles, prettier people, sexual incompetence…. all the way until atheist will continue to complain about ice cream headaches.

Again, if there was an omnibenevolent, just and loving God, we would have ZERO things to complain about because there wouldn’t be any type of suffering.

But the fact that there is suffering demonstrates that there is no God or God is basically identical to a demon. I invite Lurie to take his pick.

“But civilization as we think of it is the result of imperfection.” (pg. 135)

And under basic logic, whose fault is that? A perfect being that created an imperfect world, or the humans that were created corruptible and imperfect?

“The atheist does not believe in God because of the existence of evil and—if he were intellectually honest—the existence of all unpleasant things. But in insisting on such a perspective, he expects us to live in that Garden of Eden. What’s that word again? Irony.” (pg. 135)

Atheists expect us to live in that Garden of Eden because that is the logical conclusion if there was an omnibenevolent perfect God. Lurie’s religion makes the claim, we check to see if that claim makes sense or aligns with reality, and concludeded it doesn’t. This isn’t a conclusion reached based on disappointment or anger or bitterness, it’s just the logical conclusion that a world of suffering debunks the claim of a omnibenevolent omnipotent being existing. That simple.

It is our free will, our quest to fight evil, to overcome the obstacles that nature, disease, and evil throw at us, that make us the better men and women we can be. By contrast, a “Garden of Eden” offers no growth to anyone.If you want a world that improves, you couldn’t have fashioned a world any better. This is the world you would create if you had to start from scratch. The world the atheist claims to want would be a world without challenges or obstacles and, therefore, without innovation and improvement.” (pg. 136)

So innovation and improvement trumps living in a reality free of pain and suffering? Would Lurie rather be reincarnated into this world forever rather than go to Heaven? Would he rather take the chance to be reborn into a world and get locked up in a Death Camp than go to Paradise? Do gas chambers beat pain-free bliss?

“And likewise, perhaps evil is the whetstone that allows us to sharpen our “goodness” skills, and to appreciate and bring out the beauty in our lives and to understand what freedom truly means. God knew what He was doing. God wants us to find Him…. God kicked us out of the Garden of Eden for a reason. He wanted us to grow, and to create. No adversity means neither of such things.” (pg. 136-137)

Then God is an immoral monster.

Did God have to suffer in order to know what is “good”? If he did, then he’s not omnipotent. Any harm would diminish it’s greatness in some way, violating it’s divine incorruptibility. If God did not and already knew what was good, then there is no reason to create his favorite creatures and force them to suffer unless God is a sadistic monsterous bastard.

Imagine yourself in some high-tech future where medicine is so advance that AIDs has been eradicated like small pox. You know that AIDs is a terrible disease and the world is better without it. Knowing this, would you inject a preserved sample of the AIDs virus into your first newborn child so it can grow up sick? By Lurie’s logic, this act would teach the child “goodness” because it will know what it’s like to be sick with AIDs.

Anyone who is mentally stable knows this scenario is wicked beyond description. Good parents don’t harm their children with life-threatening diseases. Rather a good parent does everything in their power to protect their children. As of now Polio is practically extinct thanks to vaccines, but no morally reasonable person thinks that we should bring back polio just to teach the next generation the horrors of polio so they can appreciate wellness.

Chapter 3: The Fight Against God Within Us

The God Impulse

Lurie brings back the “God Impulse” and states that atheists should acknowledge that this impulse has “always existed” because atheists “recognizes praying to higher beings is hardwired in our history, even instinctive.” (pg. 138)

Which atheist said that?

Perhaps it’s not “prayer” that is hardwired into humans, perhaps it is the desire to be surrounded by a caring family. Sad truth is our parents eventually die, leaving us alone in the world with no more parental guidance or protection. And given how life-expectancy was so frighteningly low around the rise of humans, imagine living before the Stone Age and losing your parents as a child and your parents were only 28. Now only a small band of hunter-gatherers have to look out for you… assuming they’re still alive too, otherwise you have to go out into the frightening wild to find another tribe and hopefully be accepted in.

Later on in this book in Chapter 7 in the section “Purpose,” Lurie shares a story often told in psychology classes. The story is a rhesus infant monkey all alone in a cage, but when a researcher places a furry, fake mother rhesus monkey in with him, the baby monkey clung to it desperately. Why? “Because it will see comfort from anything that even resembles a mother.” Okay, not go back and picture that a child living in the Stone Age who loses her parents? Well given that we are primates just like the rhesus monkey, and if you end up alone like the rhesus monkey, perhaps we humans too also possess that biological desire to cling to something that resembles our family, even if it’s an idol or even a bearded man in the sky.

So your “instinct” to feel like you are being protected and guided by your missing parents, or your ancestors, or the “All Father” when you are alone kicks in. So you perform a prayer ritual, hoping to find guidance. You ask them to help bring the herds back, or let next season be more plentiful, or to look after you or someone you care about who goes out to hunt. Or you ask for help or guidance in your personal social life.

And guidance is what Christianity is supposedly all about. I just reviewed the docu-series “Christ Revealed,” in Episode 7 the last interview with Christian apologist Greg Koukl said near the end of the interview about what happens when people finally accept the Christian faith. “Well, they are restored to the right relationship with God, now they’re back in the family. But this is where the fun begins–and this is where I raise my eyebrows, because fun’s not always fun when you’re in the midst of it–because we’re a mess, and so even though we are made right with God because of what Jesus did for us, we still got a lot of learning to do and this is where we embark on a lifetime existential journey with God as he puts us through our paces to raise us up as children into adults spiritually.”

Pretty much sounds just what I described. Christians tell you that you need to be “born-again” like a child, reach out to the Father in the sky, and let him guide you to grow into an adult.

Nitpicking: “It is likely that there were few atheist cavemen. Indeed, it is atheism that is the relatively recent arrival of the past 150 years or so.” (pg. 138)

FAIL at History.

Lurie asks why do humans have this “impulse” and if the answer is evolutionary, why don’t animals seem to have it?

Ever heard of the superstitious pigeon of 1948? Nearly 70 years ago, American psychologist B. F. Skinner reported of some unusual animal behavior. He placed a bunch of hungry pigeons in a cage where an automated machine delivered food to them at certain intervals. Skinner noted that the pigeon started repeating actions that coincided with the delivery of the food, behaving as if their actions influenced the delivery of the food to appear as if there was a causal connection when there was none. (Right around the same time in 1948, another American psychologist Bertram Forer wrote about an experiment he did on humans and astrology – a human superstition in the position of planets and stars has a causal connection to human life when in fact there is none.)

An interest in something “bigger” or “greater” than oneself is distinct from an interest in a god. It could manifest as a devotion to one’s community for example. I see no reason why having such a devotion cannot serve the end of passing on one’s genes. It seems pretty intuitive to me that a person with an innate desire to pass on one’s genes and an innate desire to cultivate a thriving, healthy community would be more likely to effectively spread their genes than someone who merely desired to pass them to the next generation. People who have a desire to devote some effort to a cause greater than themselves could very probably be more reproducitvely effective than people who don’t. Such a desire seems to me to be entirely consistent with evolution rather than contrary to it.

I think curiosity, generally, could provide an evolutionary advantage. Collecting knowledge is useful. Humans clearly are not the only animals who exhibit signs of curiosity. We are the only animals who show curiosity about concepts as abstracts as “existential uncertainties” because we are the only animals capable of contemplating them. Lurie might ask what evolutionary advantage there is to seeking answers to such abstract questions. There may not be one. Evolution sometimes produces proclivities that in turn produce behavior that is not evolutionary advantageous. Often such behavior is evolutionary neutral and sometimes even counter-productive. However, as long as it is not so counter-productive as to outweigh the advantageous behavior that such proclivities also produce, natural selection will still select it.

Dr. Francis S. Collins, head of the Human Genome Project, explained the nature of this instinct in his superb book The Language of God. Our instincts are critical to our very survival. By this, he notes there is no instinct for which we do not have some way of satisfying it.” Basically, if we are hungry, we have food to satisfy that. If we are thirsty, we have water for that. Collins argues that an evolutionary “instinct” for a desire of God would make no sense if there was a God to satisfy that instinct. “Here’s the point: the atheist admits that we have an instinct for a higher being, from the beginning of humanity itself. But by denying God, he also is saying there is no ability to satisfy that instinct on the other end.”

This is basically the Argument from Desire. Yes we have food to quench our instinct for substance, but does that mean that the “instinct” for a spiritual guardian must therefore mean that there are such things as spiritual guardians? Of course not.

Did it ever occur to anyone that perhaps WE are the ones fulfilling our own instinct? What can I possibly mean by that? Recall earlier what I said about ancient humans longing for guidance, so they pray? Well, what if you need guidance for a moral issue? Who sends you feedback on how to deal with a moral issue? In a revealing study by Nicholas Eply (Eply, N. et al 2009, “Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, 106), Christian volunteers were asked to report their own views, the views of their deity, and the views of others on a range of controversial issues (such as legal euthanasia) while having their brain activity scanned. Results show that thinking about divine views activated the same brain regions as thinking about their own views, indicating that when believing themselves to be consulting the divine moral compass, theists may instead be doing is doing what the rest of us do: searching their own conscience. An idea further supported by the finding that manipulating the subjects beliefs consistently influence their views about divine beliefs. As Eply put it, “Intuiting God’s beliefs…may serve as an echo chamber to validate and justify one’s own beliefs.”

There you have it, our brains can serve as echo chambers. Our brains are complex, but by no means perfect, so this “God impulse” could be a biological flaw in which we satisfy ourselves.

Lurie’s argument is basically an off-shoot of C.S. Lewis’ Argument from Desire, but the problem with that argument is it’s specious reasoning. Human beings desire fictions even though other animals can’t because human beings are probably the only species that can conceive of fictions.

This is literally all of Lurie’s case for the “God impulse.” All he has is left is an analogy of healing by potions to modern medicine and primitive grunting and pointing to cell phones.

Beyond that, the only notable thing Lurie says about the “God Impulse” is the speculation that perhaps it’s an illusion. Lurie says, “It would be a cruel, cosmic joke, like the proverbial man in the desert reaching out to a mirage of an oasis, only to have it vanish as he reaches out for it.” Nothing in this chapter has given enough reason to suspect otherwise. The appendix is a time-bomb, how’s that for a cruel, evolutionary joke. The appendix isn’t the only problem in the human body. Perhaps this “impulse” is one of the many cruel jokes forced upon us.

The “Isms” Whack-a-Mole Game

In this sextion, Lurie expands on the “God Impulse”, claiming that “Neither the atheist nor the believer can meaningfully deny the God impulse.” I didn’t say that I deny the “impulse,” just as I don’t deny the existence of tidal waves, but those don’t mean that a supernatural entity is the cause of those things.

Next Lurie says that atheists must replace their “instinct” with another “-ism” such as “environmentalism, climate change, same-sex marriage, income inequality, and so on. It’s as if they must find an outlet to express their instinct for God, one way or the other.” (pg. 141)

….WHAT?!?!

How do we go from “humans are hardwired to seek out a supernatural entity” to “I believe in living wages”?????????

Seriously, Lurie has lost his marbles.

Then Lurie claims that atheists will seek out a replacement for this “impulse” with a “all-encompassing ideology” with tons of rules, dogmas, irrefutable truths, a charasmatic leader, and a Satan. This is, Lurie argues, atheists are quiet supportive of expanding Big Government.

Yep, Lurie has definitely lost his marbles, and by now the left side of his brain has turned to the right and said, “it’s dark in here.”

Most Atheists in America are former Christians, as a reslt we escaped dogmas. For us, the last thing we want is to fall back into the very thing we escaped.

Enviromentalism and climate change are based in sciences. Science is not a dogma, everything in science is falsefiable. That is why people must be willing to change their views should new data be provided. Yet when all the data is in, a scientific model can become a fact. Claiming that climate change is real is not “dogmatic” anymore than stating that the Earth orbits around the sun is a dogma, it’s just reality.

Same-sex marriage isn’t a dogma, it’s civil rights. Even so, if Lurie wants to be consistent, he would have to defend the argument that interracial marriage is a “dogmatic ideology” and the great “Satan” are white supremecist Chrisians.

Income-inequality isn’t an “ideology,” it’s math. Trickle-down economics is an ideology, the belief that the more wealth you give to the top, the more wealth will fall to everyone else. Basically, if a thousand starving people working long hours to prep a big big cake, and give that cake to the wealthy pigs, then the workers hope to eat the crumbs. The bigger the cake they make, the more crumbs they might get. May sound like a desirable economic theory to some, but in practice today in America, it just does not work. Instead of spending their money keep circulating the economy to generate economic activity, the rich spend very little while hoarding and hoarding their money in banks and off-shore accounts. Thus the fat cats just get fatter, and the poor keep getting poorer. Trickle-down economy is a belief whereas income-inequality is more of a reflection of what is mathematically happening economically. Ever since the late 1970’s, it is mathematically a fact that productivity in America continued to sky-rocket whereas the wages when adjusted for inflation has been stagnate ever since. So year after year, as productivity and GDP goes up, the wages of workers remain stagnate, meaning the “gap” between them grows larger and larger — THIS is what forms income-inequality (how can you have a functioning consumer-based economy when the consumers barely have money to consume things that get more and more expensive?) Americans are putting in so much more work than ever before, but they are not being paid equivalent to what they produce. Instead, all the profits for all the hard labor of Americans is being distributed to the richest of the rich. For those familiar with Animal Farm, this is pretty much the same where Napoleon and the pigs forced the other animals to work harder and longer while feeding them less and less, while the pigs lived in luxury, ate massive amounts of food, got drunk, and were powerful enough they could write the rules however they wanted to benefit just them and screw over the rest of the animals.

Of all the developed industrialized nations, the USA has the most unequal distribution of income and wealth by far and it continues to surge even more.

(There are more factors that contribute to income inequality and the shrinking middle class, but this is a big one. Cost of living skyrocketing, education exponentially becoming ridiculously expensive (forcing millions of students to take loans), rise in healthcare costs, people being forced to work longer hours and take out loans to cope with flattening wages, jobs being sent overseas and/or jobs becoming automated, weaker unions, etc.)

 

Lurie then tells a story of he and his wife visiting Vietnam and going on a tour of a tomb. He was given a tourism booklet that told them to not laugh, smile or even whisper. “It dawned upon me that we would never see such a thing in the United States, Israel, England, or any other democracy rooted in God.” (pg. 141)

First of all, there is no democracy rooted in God. Prove me wrong and go find a passage in the Bible that includes Ballot Boxes. Good luck, all you will find is the man on top calling all the shots, and disobedience is punishable by death. (Even in Acts 2, 4, and 5 where Peter called for forced collectivism upon a village, and the ones who didn’t participate ended up dead)

Second of all, Israel has a lot of restrictions, especially on women.

“The rule is simple: Where a dictatorship has no God, a human will become God.” (pg. 142)

And where a dictatorship has a God, that God will be human who believes in God. Even later in this book, Lurie admits that dictators can have a God.

What Matters Most

Lurie opens this sub-chapter by diving into that all humans want to matter, and that the newer generations “only seek fame” from movie stars to porn stars, from musicians to authors. “It is a culture that has lost God. But God has infused us humans with this sense that we matter and that we need to do things that matter—that everything we do is indeed for a greater purpose. It might be in the form of art, music, literature, movies, philosophy, psychology, medicine and science.” (pg. 143)

So which is it? First Lurie goes on that humans seek fame, and that means our culture as lost God, yet God infused in us these things so “everything we do is indeed for a greater purpose.” So is seeking fame ungodly or godly? Make up your mind?

Next Lurie makes a sad case that without God then nothing matters and everything is random and pointless. He says that atheists still have an “instinct” to matter so they fill it with other things, but atheist can’t explain where this urge to matter comes from. Lurie argues that there must be a “giver.”

Blah blah blah blah, like we haven’t heard this crap a thousand times before, still doesn’t get anymore real no matter how many times theists say it. Lurie’s like a kid at school, whining that “my way is better than yours.” Newsflash Lurie, until you can prove your God exists, then your claim that your theology can account for your “instint” to matter is (ironicly) meaningless.

The fact is atheism doesn’t mean everything is random or pointless, again Lurie is equating atheism with nihilism when they are two separate things.

How can an atheist account for the so-called “instinct” to matter?

Answering the Call of Anything

Basically Lurie argues there is a “impulse” or drive in all humans that compells them to do something important. He argues that atheists cannot account where this comes from, and any “sense of duty” they posses is a “mission without purpose.” He also says, “The “isms” (environmentalism, socialism, and so on) underscore humanity’s search for structure, if not meaning. This shows we never truly “evolve” from the formidable God impulse.”

A) I’ve already been through that the feeling of “something greater than oneself” does not imply that something must be a god.

B) Rather, since Lurie is confusing sense of something greater with superstition, the more accurate question to ask is where does superstition come from? Simple, superstitions are irrational beliefs, and irrational beliefs form from the biases, ignorance, apophenia of humans to give them the illusion of answers and/or control.

C) So things like environmentalism underscore’s humanities search for structure? Really, so when Los Angeles was engulfed in thick disgusting unhealthy smog for years was “structure”? Even after much has improved, the local LA Times news says that poor air-quality kills thousands of people every year. So what is more important to Lurie I wonder, “structure” where thousands of people die, or “structure” that strives for improved human quality of health and life?

After sharing a story about Lurie and his friends going to a movie where the projector screwed up that put the whole movie out of whack, Lurie realized that all humans seek “structure,” which is why cults are successful (Scientologists, The Moonies, EST) and why people are attracted to socialism. Doesn’t mention any other financial system, but socialism. “Just share everything, and no one will be rich or poor. Medicine, education, and the basics of a society’s infrastructure will all just appear. The appeal is great: someone is offering structure, with virtually no input or effort on your part. The only obligation? Submit.” (pg. 148)

Submission is the only obligation…. sounds awfully like the apostle Peter enforcing Biblical Communism.

The book of Acts has two explicit passages depicting the very communistic nature of the early Christian community:

All that believed were together, and had all things in common; And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need.
(Acts 2:44-45)

There was not a needy person among them, for as many as owned lands or houses sold them and brought the proceeds of what was sold. They laid it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to each as any had need. There was a Levite, a native of Cyprus, Joseph, to whom the apostles gave the name Barnabas (which means “son of encouragement”). He sold a field that belonged to him, then brought the money, and laid it at the apostles’ feet.
(Acts 4:34-37)

Is it possible that Marx’s famous line “From each according to his ability, to each according to his need” took its inspiration directly from the New Testament?

Immediately following this second passage is a very interesting story about a couple, Ananias and Sapphira, who sold a piece of property but only gave the community a portion of the proceeds, keeping some of it for themselves. When Peter confronts them with this, they both fall down and die – leaving the impression (for many people) that they were struck dead. The fear of death spread across the people with an ultimatum: join Biblical communism and submit or die.

Killing bourgeoisie land owners who fail to give all of their money to the community? That’s not merely communism, that’s Stalinism. Peter did it before Stalin.

Of course, in addition to the above, there are many, many statements attributed to Jesus which emphasize doing all that you can to help the poor — even to the point of him recommending that a rich man sell all of his possessions and give the money to the poor if he really wishes to get into heaven. The Old Testament also indicates that something akin to communism is the preferable way to live:

This is what the Lord has commanded: Gather of it, every man of you, as much as he can eat; you shall take an omer apiece, according to the number of persons who each of you has in his tent. And the people of Israel did so; they gathered some more, some less. But when they measured it with an omer, he that gathered much had nothing over, and he that gathered little had no lack; each gathered according to what he could eat
(Ex. 16:16-18)

It is no wonder, then, that any number of Christian groups has adopted ways of living which, while explicitly based upon biblical stories, are also expressions of communist ideals. Such groups include the Shakers, Mormons, Hutterites and more.

In summary, this isn’t so much a problem with the Bible as it is a problem with the people who claim to follow the Bible and use it as their primary guide to how they should live their lives. Some certainly take passages like the above to heart — witness the strong social ethic of many Catholics and the very communistic Liberation Theology which has developed out of Catholicism.

Most, however, simply ignore the above passages – just as they ignore so much else which is politically or morally inconvenient.

Next Lurie talks about Lennin, and how almost all secular intellectuals were fans of Lennin, even going to Russia to support him (No Source given). “Lenin wanted only power, and he understood the best way of getting that was to answer people’s basic craving for structure. And how did history refer to these American friends who helped advance communism for him? “Useful idiots.” The epithet has become synonymous with suckers who unwittingly do the bidding of evildoers. It did not stop with socialism or communism. It also applied to fascism, environmentalism, even vegetarianism and animal rights.” (pg. 148)

So environmentalism, vegetarianism and animals rights are on par with evildoers and communism?

What planet does this guy live on? I’m not a vegetarian, or passionate about animals rights, and I am primarily concerned with Sustainability, but I fail to see how any of those 3 can rationally be compared to evil communism.

You might be wondering why would Christians be opposed to protecting the environment. I’ll let them tell you themselves:

PAT ROBERSON: “What is the agenda of the radical Left? They talk about — aren’t environmental concerns sort of like a god to them?”

OKLAHOMA SEN. JAMES INHOFE: “It is. Look, Pat, I don’t have to tell you about reading the Scriptures, but one of mine that I’ve always enjoyed is Romans 1: 22 and 23. You quit worshiping God and start worshiping the creation — the creeping things, the four-legged beasts, the birds and all that. That’s their god. That’s what they worship. If you read Romans 1:25, it says, ‘and they gave up their God and started worshipping the creation.’ That’s what we are looking at now, that’s what’s going on. And we can’t let it happen.”

There you have it, they don’t give a damn about the environment, they only care that 1) that God is not the center of everyone’s attention and 2) Christians and politicians like Inhofe only care about unrestraining industries to consume and consume for max profits, which is easy to do if there are no regulations (but those pesky environmentalists want clean air and water). Christians love to boast about how they are all about “accountability” but don’t want industries to be held accountable. Industries don’t care about anything besides max profits, so they hate regulations that are in place to keep them in check and safe. Look at what happened when uber-Christian Texas gov. Rick Perry deregulated the paint factories: they blew up and people died. (this is the same governor who responded to the Texas drought by organizing a large prayer rally to pray for rain… no rain showed up but instead, because of the drought and heat, much of Texas caught fire and the drought continued for months afterward. That is how useless the religious right’s policies are and always been, responding to real-world problems by not doing anything except the equivalent of wishing upon a star. Oh, funny enough, during the Texas Atheist Freethought Convention, it started raining. Go figure.)

And it gets worse than not being accountable to the here and now. I suspect that Lurie is one of those Christians who are so deluded that he is devoid of any sense of “accountability” to the next generations? That he thinks we humans can chop down all the trees until they’re all gone; fish and fish until ALL the fish are gone; consume every ounce of oil underground; and consume consume and consume everything until there is nothing left and everyone in the next generation starves to death…. but to Christians it doesn’t matter because “my boy Jeesuz Christ is comin’ back real soon and torch the place anyway and fly us to paradise.” In other words: fuck responsibility, fuck future generations, and fuck the planet.

So if I’m wrong and Jesus comes back (for no reason) and destorys everything (for no reason) but saves the people and the people are happy in Padadise. Okay, but if the Christians are wrong, and Sky-Daddy doesn’t show up, then because of their stupidity they would’ve screwed up everything and all future generations will be buggered, and yet Christians like Lurie are still trying to skew their responsibility for what they’ve done.

I just do not get why Christians view the protection of the environment as evil, yet they would never submit themselves to live near a tar sand pit or settle in a storage room full off radioactive waste. Rather, like the rest of us, they want to live in a safe clean place, yet they look down on people who want to enforce that protection for everyone.

There is a moral obligation here for ourselves and future generations, and it is not on the religious end. I as an atheist understand that there is a moral obligation, but for some reason Barak Lurie (the self-proclaimed moral and responsible one) does not. As my atheist friend Aron Ra once put it, “we are not the ones wasting our resources like there is no tomorrow because we’re not the ones who actually believe there is no tomorrow.” He is referring to Christians believing Jesus is coming back any day now, so there is no future for humanity to prepare for therefore let’s consume every resource like crazy like drug addicts before the clock chimes. Whereas atheists don’t believe in The Last Days and that there is a long bright future ahead of all of us if we simply be responsible.

Man Makes Himself God

Lurie makes this coment: “When you believe in God, you believe He created each of us equally in His image.” (pg. 149)

A) What does that even mean? Does Lurie even understand what he claims to know about being “created in God’s image”?

The key reasons I am an Igtheist is because there is no coherent defintion of God. In the same respects, there is no coherent definition of the phrase “created in His Image.” It’s so loose I’ve heard people interpret it in half-a-dozen ways (Physical Image, Emotional Image, Moral Image, Intellectual Image, and probably the most obscure of all, Relational Image.) Even allowing the progressively swollen poetic license behind these interpretations, all of them fail. But they do provide a handy framework for presenting the charges against this divine judge. Since this blog is getting so long, I will just pick the first of the listed and share in detail why it doesn’t make any sense.

PHYSICAL IMAGE – The idea that our bodies bear any physical resemblance to an all-knowing all-powerful omnipresent Creator.

As our knowledge of biology and physics increased, we’ve come to appreciate that the physical form of a being is intimately connected to the specific environmental conditions it inhabits. Wings come in many shapes and sizes, but we’ve learned that those shapes and sizes are constrained by factors like drag, thrust, lift and weight. And we’ve realized that some of the mythical winged characters that humans have dreamt up over the centuries, from Icarus with his wings and wax to the Biblical six-winged Seraphim (Isaiah 6:2) would simply never get off the ground. Likewise, we now appreciate the absurdity of a vast naturally humanoid god possessing depth perceiving two forward facing eyes with nothing external to see. Stereo perceiving ears with nothing external to hear. Agile limbs with no external space through which to move. And so on. The most common view I’ve encountered from folks in posing a mythical Creator is that “it has no physical form at all”… so why do we? Expanding on those four words, why do we have a physical form that can be damaged or destroyed by other humans, predators, microbes, poisonous materials and natural disasters? The body frequently attacks itself with debilitating and deadly cancers. And the body quickly perishes without inadequate food, water and oxygen, or if it’s core temperature rises or falls by just a few degrees Fahrenheit. A form that, if it survives these hazards, can look forward to incapacitation and decay before it’s inevitable death. Why are we subjected to these sufferings by a Creator that is immune to them? When I was a Christian, I was told that human suffering was a result of being endowed with the most precious gift from Yahweh: the gift of free choice.

The reasoning went like this: Yahweh created us with free choice to do bad or good. That meant people had to be allowed to bad things, even if they ended up hurting or killing countless others. Preventing them from doing bad things would take away their free choice. In effect, they would be forced to be good against their will. So Yahweh couldn’t interfere. Either by restraining an abuser, or protecting the abusers target, the meager consolation offered to us was that all abuse would eventually be punished. N regard to the other hardships we endured (diseases, predators, natural disasters) these were all presented as extensions of the same principle. The first humans had been given a paradise to live in, but because they had disobeyed their Creator, they were expelled to the world we now live in with all of it’s dangers. So, even these forms of suffering, were all ultimately down to human free choice.

When I was a Christian, I found this reasoning persuasive for a time. It didn’t stop me from resenting the suffering we endured, but I could appreciate that the alternative of forcing everyone to be good was also extremely undesirable. In fact, the lack of freedom entailed by forcing people to be good could itself be seen as a form of suffering. Given the option of “free choice + suffering” or “no free choice + no suffering,” I could see the appeal of option 1. I later realized that I had fallen for a false dichotomy. The presentation of two alternatives as the only alternatives when in fact other exist. The clue that this was a false dichotomy was staring me in the face, all be it in a non-physical way. It was Yahweh. And this demonstrates another parallel with abusive human relationships, in that we spend so much time absolutely focused on these celestial dictators, and yet not seeing them at all. Here was supposedly a being that enjoyed the option “total free choice + no suffering.” Totally free choice with full knowledge of good and evil, but experienced no suffering. It was impossible to harm this being, in so doing would diminish it’s greatness in some way, violating it’s divine incorruptibility. So free choice and suffering were never inevitably paired. You didn’t have to either accept both or reject both, not if you were incorruptible. So why weren’t we created in this incorruptible image? Why are we down here in these bizarre fragile bodies being infected, beaten, starved, raped, tortured and murdered while this supposed Creator enjoyed free choice devoid of all suffering?

It has been put to me that the Creator could not create beings like itself. One reason offered was that it’s creation might overpower it. First, how could it overpower it’s Creator? They would be like two perfect Chess players, able to anticipate every one of their opponents next move. The only possible outcome would be stalemate. Second, wouldn’t a desire to overpower it’s Creator indicate some form of deficiency? If the creation was a copy of the creator, this deficiency would have to exist in the original. If you are arguing that a copy of the creator could go rogue, you are arguing that the original could go rogue. A Christian undergraduate student I once knew suggested that a god-like creation might abuse it’s power in other ways. For example, by creating less powerful beings, and subjecting them to torture. She didn’t realize that she was describing her own God. We have to look at things from the perspective of a all-knowing all-powerful Creator: vulnerability, hardship, abuse, pain, distress, fear. It has NO experience of these things. It would have to create things utterly unlike itself in order for them to be capable of feeling and experiencing suffering. In designing those beings, it would bring these previously non-existent phenomenon into existence. The theological implications are clear: God created suffering. It created torment. It created sickness.

B) It is a historical and modern fact that belief in God does not mean that everyone is equal. Case in point, ealier Lurie was lumping “same-sex marriage” with evil communism, which means that he views same-sex marriage as destructive. Nobody who thinks that people are equal, in this case straight and gay people, would have this bigoted mindset.

Even if Lurie denies this, his claim is still wrong, given that Christians today think that only white heterosexual Christians deserve all the rights but don’t want gays, atheists, Muslims, Jews, blacks, hispanics, asians, Natives, Hindus, Buddhists, and more to have the same rights. And I’m not talking about card-caarrying members of the KKK, I’m talking everyday religious people. Of course not all of them are bigots, but plenty of them are, either by choice or made that way by their churches. Take for instance the Mormon Church, which promoted discrimination of blacks until 1978; opposed interracial coupling and marriages and called black skin a curse.

In the next response, read carefully what the founder of Protestantism thought of women and Jews. Someone who believes that people are equal wouldn’t say such a thing.

Or how about Christian apologists? My readers know of Ray Comfort and Kirk Cameron. On one of Kirk Cameron’s documenaries he said that man has dominion over things he named, and since Adam named Eve, that logically means man has dominion over woman.

Belief in God and beliving people are created in “God’s image” (whatever that means) does not guarantee that theists believe in equality. The fact tha Kirk Cameron can find biblical justification to believe that man are above women is proof of that. Not only that, Christians find justification of the Curse of Ham to be racist towards blacks.

Like I always said, you can find justification for tolerance or hate in the Bible, and since the Bible doesn’t give a clear moral direction, it ultimately provides none at all which makes it useless.

“As a logical follow-up to that, you believe no one is superior to anyone else, at least in God’s eyes.” Later on, after talking about basketball star, Laurie says this, “

The same is true for ideas and positions. With God, we know that everyone’s life is infinitely and equally valuable. But without God, anyone can determine for us what is important and, for that matter, who matters. And they can decide to whom we should listen, and whom we can subjugate, marginalize, scapegoat, demonize, or treat in any other inferior way.” (pgs. 149-150)

Oh yeah, tell that to the Christians all throughout history.

Pick a time. Any time where Christians encountered non-Christians. Even today, go back and look at the meme quoting Bryan Fischer who encourages Christians to bring back discrimination (against gays) and wear Discrimination like a badge of honor.

Bryan Fisher isn’t a lone Christian. Entire churches and Christian associations seek to treat people differently. How well did the Christians treat the Native Americans? Did they think that these previously uncontacted indigenous people were “equal”?

Everyone has heard of the famous John Smith. What did he have to say about the Native Americans? Smith described their characteristics (brown, strong, agile, cleanly shaven, etc) yet he nevertheless calls them all “savage.” The Natives decorated themselves with barbaric ornaments and tattoos. Their methods of building and living greatly differed from European traditions. But what interested Smith the most about the Natives was their form of government and religion. He commented “there is yet in Virginia no place discovered to be so Savage in which the Savages have not religion…But their chiefe God they worship is the Divell [Devil].” (Travels and Works of Captain John Smith, ed. Arber and Bradley I, 65-84 as used by Roy Pearce, Savagism and Civilization, 14-15.)

The remarks of the Native Americans by John Smith are minuscule compared to the missionaries who observed and engaged with the Natives. Missionaries held the worst view. Christians held many beliefs to certain degrees, but the one group who possibly held the worst view against the Native Americans was the Puritans.

Everyone is aware of the Puritans were among the first settlers to arrive in America, but how well do we know them and what they did? The Puritans were a sect of Christianity who believed the Church of England had become corrupt by the Anglicans. The common belief among the American public is that the Puritans came to America for religious freedom. However, the Puritans came for their own religious freedom and were quick to persecute others. On the top of their agenda was the Native Americans, but they also persecuted other Christians like the Quakers and even other Puritans. The main reason why the Quakers were persecuted was because their pacifism and lack of involvement against the Native Americans as turning their backs to their fellow colonists, their country, and their race. (Peter Silver, Our Savage Neighbors, 18) The Puritans also believed in persecution of the Jewish people to fulfill prophecies like Revelations 15. (Roy Pearce, Savagism and Civilization, 28.) The Puritans saw themselves as evangelical keys to civility and would lead the savages on the true path to God. (Roy Pearce, Savagism and Civilization, 19) Through out the sixteenth century to the American Revolution, the goal of English missionaries was to reduce the Native Americans from savagery to “civility.” (James Axtell, Natives and Newcomers, 148) The quickest way to do this was to rid the world of the savage, either by conversion or death. For the Puritan settlers, the entire planet already is their home and property. The Puritans had a strong belief that they were the true followers of God, and the New World was God’s garden given to the Puritans. This can be seen by the words of John Winthrop, 1629: “…the whole earth is the Lord’s garden, and he hath given it to the sons of Adam to be tilled and improved by them. Why then should we stand starving here for the places of habitation, (many men spending as much labor and cost to recover or keep sometimes an acre or two of lands as would procure him many hundreds of acres, as good or better, in another place,) and in the mean time suffer whole countries, as profitable for the use of man, to lie waste without any improvement.” (“General Considerations,” in Young, Chronicles of the First Planters, p. 272 as quoted in Roy Pearce, Savagism and Civilization, 21.)

Another example, John Winthrop wrote to an English friend about the earlier arrival of the Pilgrims who spread diseases amongst the local Natives “the natives are neere all dead of the smalle Poxe, so as the Lord hathe cleared our title to what we posses.” (Winthrop to Sir Nathaniel Rich, May 22, 1634, Winthrop Papers, III (Massachusetts Historical Society, 1943), 167.) The Bible also commands that God’s people should “Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth” – Genesis 1:28. With this ground rooted into their beliefs, the Puritans were not hesitant in taking land to sustain them. However, acquiring land was not simple. The Puritans faced opposition with the Native Americans, who already claimed the land as their home. This was amongst the first and strongest reasons that forced the Puritans to deeply despise the Native Americans. The Puritans viewed any opposition to them in any fashion was a direct opposition to God, thus making the Native Americans minions of Satan himself. (Morison, The Founding of Harvard College, p. 415 as used by Roy Pearce, Savagism and Civilization, 22)

Spanish priest Bartolome de Las Casas argued whether the Natives were even human. Several Europeans shared the view that the Native Americans were not “men” for three reasons: their were incapable of embracing reason; their passions brutal made them slightly better than animals; and could not master the “Arts of civil Life & Humanity.” (Johnson Papers, 5:511 as used in Jame Axtells, Natives and Newcomers, 147) Low class Europeans were capable of fulfilling each of these, whereas these values were completely omitted in Native American life.

The continuation of calling the Native Americans demonic had a huge influence on all types of people. Even civil rights activist Roger Williams (who also strove for savage rights) was revolted by Native Americans in their “hideous worships of creatures and devils.” (The Bloody Tenant Yet More Bloddy [165], Publications of the Narragonsett Club, Ser. 1, IV (1870), p. 85 as used by Roy Pearce in Savagism and Civilization, pg. 29)

In the eyes of many Europeans, the land that the Natives settled on wasn’t being farmed, and therefore being wasted. There were vast amounts of land available for farming, but it was untouchable while the Natives inhabited it. Religion came as a strong driving force to convince people to take the land and wipe out the Natives by force. James Knowles argued in 1834 that it was God’s plan for America for New Englanders to wipe out the Native Americans, because they would not “obey the great law of God” which “obliged them to become civilized, and to adopt those modes of life which would enable their territory to support the greatest possible number of inhabitants.” Knowles concluded the Americans could achieve this “by saving from ruin the helpless descendants of the savage.” (James Knowles, Memoir of Roger Williams (Boston, 1834) pg 95, 98, as quoted by Roy Pearce in Savagism and Civilization, pg. 63)

Separating the civilized world from the savage was easier than riding of the world of the savage. While many laws were passed to move tribes away to Indian Reservations, the urge to eliminate or convert the savages did no stop. U.S. soldiers toasted on July 4, 1779 to the phrase “Civilization or death to all American Savages.” (The banquet is reported in the journal of Major James Norris, Journals of the Military Expedition of Major General John Sullivan (Auburn, N.Y., 1887), pp. 225-26)

We’ve already talked about how Christians viewed non-Christians (and other Christians) but how did certain Christians view women and Jews?

Let’s ask Martin Luther, the founder of the Protestant movement.

“The word and works of God is quite clear, that women were made either to be wives or prostitutes.”

[Martin Luther, Works 12.94]

“The Jews are the most miserable people on earth. They are plagued everywhere, and scattered about all countries, having no certain resting place. They sit as on a wheelbarrow, without a country, people or government… but they are rightly served, for seeing they refused have Christ and his gospel, instead of freedom they must have servitude.”

“Either God must be unjust, or you, Jews, wicked and ungodly. You have been, about fifteen hundred years, a race rejected of God.”

“Therefore the blind Jews are truly stupid fools…”

“We are at fault for not slaying them [the Jews]”

[Martin Luther, “On the Jews and Their Lies“, 1543]

This sounds something like Hitler would say, except Martin Luther was hundreds of years before Hitler, but did not start a Holocaust. When you get the time, research “blood libels” against Jews by Christians, and how hundreds of years or marginalization and demonetization manifested in Europe long before Hitler and the Third Reich.

Speaking of Hitler….

Laurie then says this, “A world without God opens all such doors of horror. Hitler understood this well, managing through his godless regime to manipulate millions into his murder spree of millions of innocents. After the war, Germans looked at each other like a spell of madness had overtaken them, and now the spell had been broken.” (pgs. 150-151)

A world without God opens doors of horror? Hitler’s regime was godless? And the German people had no idea?

Barak Laurie…. go to the Museum of Tolerance. It’s not far from where you work. It’s on Pico Blvd and Roxbury Dr. I used to work there when I lived in LA. While there, half the time I was giving tours and the other half working in the Library and Archives with Holocaust survivors. The things I’ve learned, the things I’ve read, the things I’ve been told by people who were there, the things I’ve seen in documents, photos, and artifacts… the truth is inescapable: the Nazi regime was not godless. Rather it was God-inspired.

Christianity, or rather Positive Christianity, was promoted all over Germany. That is a historical fact. The Germans rallied behind a Christian regime, and they knew it was Christian.

By the time I worked that Museum, the wanted to put all the photos and documents online… but they wanted to do that 3 years before I started working there. Their equipment was old and out-dated and everything just kept getting reorganized. By the time I left, the work wasn’t even close to being done, and as far as I know, the Museum hasn’t put those documents and photos online yet.

Thankfully, other people already gone ahead and posted dozens of pictures, or as I call them the “smoking guns” that demonstrate the Reich was Christian and had major support from the Churches.

Click the link here, go ahead I dare you: https://www.nobeliefs.com/nazis.htm

Here’s a taste of what you’ll see in that link…

(minor note: the guys above are the Deutsche Christen (German Christians). The Deutsche Christen (DC) became the voice of Nazi ideology within the Evangelical Church (the Religious Right of their day) and approved by Hitler. They proposed a church “Aryan paragraph” to prevent “non-Aryans” from becoming ministers or religious teachers. Most church leaders solidly supported the “Judenmission.” Only a very few number of Christians opposed Nazism such as the “Confessing Christians” (a Church movement not recognized by the Protestant orthodoxy) headed by Dietrich Bonhoeffer. The support of Nazism by the majority of German Christians and German Christian leaders shows the danger of mixing religion with government)

Wanna see and learn A LOT more? Click this link: https://www.nobeliefs.com/Hitler1.htm

Entire churches were covered in Nazi symbolism, including swastikas, muscular Aryan Jesus, Iron Crosses, statues of Nazi Stormtroopers, and busts of Adolf Hitler. During the 1930’s, Nazi Party members made up 2/3 of the church attendance, where they also baptized their children.

(yep, that’s Jesus, blessing a Nazi soldier and an Aryan woman and child. This still stands in a church in Berlin)

(The above picture is The Concordat between the Vatican and the Nazis. Cardinal Secretary of State, Eugenio Pacelli (later to become Pope Pius XII) signs the Concordat between Nazi Germany and the Vatican at a formal ceremony in Rome on 20 July 1933. Nazi Vice-Chancellor Franz von Papen sits at the left, Pacelli in the middle, and the Rudolf Buttmann sits at the right. The Concordat effectively legitimized Hitler and the Nazi government to the eyes of Catholicism, Christianity, and the world.)

The evidence is overwhelming, anyone who says that Hitler and the Nazi regime were not Christians are bold-face liars as Holocaust-deniers.

No Higher Power

“By definition, atheism can only result in one of two paradigms: chaos, or heavily structured dictatorship. Atheism understands no order, no hierarchy. In fact, the only thing consistent in atheism’s theory is randomness and disorder—and the Law of the Jungle that must flow from it. Ironically, if an atheist advocates for goodness in any form, he unwittingly advocates for an exception to his own ideology, even the opposite of it. To be consistent, the atheist should advocate for the killing of all weak and socially “undesirable” people (whatever that might mean), because they are a drain on society. He should be a eugenicist, as it were.” (pg. 151)

By definition, atheism can only“–STOP.

By definition, atheism is just a lack of belief in Gods. That’s all. There is no mandate to accept “randomness” or “the law of the jungle.” Nor does atheism lead to chaos or dictatorships. If that happened, then Australia would’ve been a shit-show between 2010 and 2013 when atheist Julia Gillard became Prime Minister of Australia, and according to local sources, she wasn’t the only atheist Prime Minister in the previous 12 PM’s. Guess what, Australia didn’t fall under a dictatorship. Not even once. Not even under Gillard.

Or Denmark. Denmark had atheist prime ministers from 1947 all the way through 1968, and again in 1971-1972. None of those prime ministers became dictators.

What about the previous President of France, François Hollande, who was President from 2012 to 2017. Did France fall into a dictatorship? I don’t recall Obama or Paul Ryan or McCain ever mentioning that concern.

Or what about Aleksander Kwaśniewski, the President of Poland from 1995 to 2005. At the same time, the Prime Minister of Poland was Włodzimierz Cimoszewicz, an atheist, who served from 1996 to 1996. How is it that those two didn’t start a dictatorship? (Speaking of Poland, the first President of Poland was an atheist, Gabriel Narutowicz, who served in 1922… for only 5 days. He was assassinated by a right-winger Eligiusz Niewiadomski of the National Democratic Party. Before the assassination, Narutowica was the target of right-wing and anti-semitic propaganda campaign vilifying him; in the background of street protests he was called, by an unfriendly press, an atheist, Freemason and a Jew.)

Did Sweden fall under a dictatorship either time Olof Palme served as Prime Minister? rather, it appears that Palme gained international recognition for a lot of things, including his repeated criticism of European Communist regimes, including labeling the Husák regime as “The Cattle of Dictatorship” (Swedish: “Diktaturens kreatur”) in 1975.

Did London fall into chaos and ruin when Ken Livingstone was Mayor of London from 2000-2008? Last time I was in London that was in 2011…. guess what, London was still there, functioning and no trace of dictatorship rules. Say what you want about Livingstone, but that atheist in charge didn’t bring London to a collapse.

Is the Czech republic on fire now that Miloš Zeman is President? Did Croatia crumble to dust when Zoran Milanović served as Prime Minister from 2011 to 2016 or when Ivica Račan served as Prime Minister from 2000 to 2003?

Are you getting the message???

Claiming that atheism leads to ruin, communism and/or dictatorships is absolute bullshit.

Lurie argues that his previous comment was the reasoning of the main character in Fyodor Dostoevsky’s classic Crime and Punishment where the character Raskolnikov sets about to kill an old woman neighbor in his apartment building because she’s old and useless and he’s should act consistently with his atheism. If humans are just carbon

unit with no extrinsic value beyond what you can contribute for the “good” of society therefore it was logical and even the “right” thing to kill the old women.

 

Sneaky little weasel Barak Lurie forgot to mention what happened to Raskolnikov after he committed murder. Raskolnikov commits murder, but his conscience doesn’t let him get away with it. It causes him great mental anguish, so he turns himself in to stop his suffering. And just like in real life, other people won’t let you get away with doing whatever you want either.

I should also point out Dostoyevski wrote another novel The Brothers Karamazov, where the famous line “without a god everything is permissible” is not true both in reality and in his own story. In it, people feel guilty for being associated with crimes. They suffer, so much that a murderer takes his own life.

So apparently, even if there is no God, not everything is permissible. Even by Dostoyevski’s own works. But regardless, do I feel like everything is permissible? No I don’t. I’m going to obey my conscience even if some infallible foundation tells me not to. Even if Jesus Christ himself descended from heaven and told me to do something that my conscience won’t let me do, I’m not doing it.

In the “ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS” of this book, Lurie admits that “It was [Dostoyevski] who first made me see the dangerous world of my own atheism. I do not know that without him, I would ever have appreciated God’s reality. More than any author I have ever read, his books show the consequences of living according to dangerous beliefs, through compelling stories.”

For someone who praises an author so much, that should indicate that they know the stories well… yet for some reason, the parts where the criminals faced consequences for their actions, even in a godless world, all flew over Lurie’s head. Not only that, Lurie has a hard time reading the Bible. I’m beginning to detect a pattern here.

One more thing, the argument that “without God, this will lead to X, Y, Z” is self-refuting.

Next Lurie talks about what happens when you let “the people” rule. When that happens, mankind must be “supreme” because they are in charge. But Lurie objects that a problem manifests in that scenario: people have differing opinions on how to govern, what is right or wrong, and what values should be enforced? (pg. 152)

The alternative Lurie is implying it that we’d be better off in a theocracy. If man cannot be in charge, the only other being in the theistic worldview to be put in church is God. And since God isn’t going to walk into the Oval Office and sit at the desk, that means certain men are going to be declared to be “spokespeople” for God, and these privileged individuals are going to call all the shots under the blessings of God himself. That is theocracy in a nutshell.

But the very same objection that Lurie raises comes back to bite him in the ass: there are thousands of denominations of Christians that disagree with each other on how to interpret Scripture. They have differing opinions, different ideas of what is right or wrong, and don’t universally agree on what values should be enforced. So Lurie is back to square one, because as I’ve said many times, the Bible is useless because it does not provide any clear moral direction.

Lurie may object and says things like “Christians agree on the universal value to promote the well being of humans”… yet this is the same guy who earlier dismissed protecting the environment as a worthy cause, considering that the poor air-quality in Los Angeles alone kills thousands every year. Put a dozen Christians together in a room, and they will disagree on universal healthcare; funding stem cell research; protecting civil rights of minorities; protecting women’s rights and access to birth control; and of course you’ll find Christians who don’t care about any of those and just wish that the End Days arrive this weekend.

To argue his point, Lurie talks about the death penalty and does a comparison with American and Norway. Lurie says, “In America, many believe the death penalty is not only appropriate but a core, good value, that it reflects our deep contempt for the wrongful taking of an innocent life. That is logical to many in the United States. By contrast, most in Europe see the death penalty as horrid under any circumstances. To them, it is illogical and inherently wrong.” Lurie brings up the story of convicted serial killer Anders Breivik in Norway who was arrested and sentenced to 21 years in prison or a maximum sentence if he continues to appear a threat. “This is what Norway considers proper, tolerant, and merciful. These are Norwegian values. For many other countries in the West, not imposing a far greater sentence, and perhaps the death penalty itself, was an abdication of a collective duty to pursue justice and to publicly express our shared contempt for such horrid acts.” (pgs. 152-153)

So from this we can take that Lurie is all for the Death penalty.

Remember earlier about what I said about Christians not agreeing on certain values, this is one of them.

Next Lurie brings up the pro-choice movement, how they see themselves as the good guys and every one else the bad guys.

So Lurie doesn’t like that humans get to choose to terminate a fetus. But if terminating a fetus is wrong, then why is it okay when God does it in Numbers 5?

Next Lurie points out that in the Muslim world a man can marry multiple women, and Muslim society encourages them to do so.

Where do you think the Muslims got the permission to practice polygamy? THEIR GOD!

Not to mention the Judeo-Christian God allows polygamy (and I’m not just talking about the Mormon faith). Even Jesus (sometimes) seemed OK with polygamy. The parable of the ten virgins, for example involved a man and his ten brides. “Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom.” – Matthew 25:1

“Without God there can never be any universal interpretation of what is right and what is wrong, what is good and what is evil.” (pg. 154)

Even in a highly religious society there is still confusion of what is right and what is wrong. In America, it was the Christians who demanded the abolishment of slavery and on the other side it was Christians demanding to cement the institution of slavery in America forever–so much so that several States called slavery a “God-given right.”

Even in the very same paragraph, Lurie mentions “The American South versus the American North” while talking about context, but c’mon that was TWO SENTENCES after declaring that without God it’s moral anarchy. Didn’t the Civil War pop into Luries head shortly after typing “American South and North” shortly after saying that?

When Texas seceded, their Declaration of Causes said this, “That in this free government *all white men are and of right ought to be entitled to equal civil and political rights* [emphasis in the original]; that the servitude of the African race, as existing in these States, is mutually beneficial to both bond and free, and is abundantly authorized and justified by the experience of mankind, and the revealed will of the Almighty Creator, as recognized by all Christian nations; while the destruction of the existing relations between the two races, as advocated by our sectional enemies, would bring inevitable calamities upon both and desolation upon the fifteen slave-holding states.”

“The atheist’s notion that goodness and fairness will flow from some universal understanding of logic (or from the “heart”) naively ignores that logic and good are at best floating-point standards.” (pg. 154)

Although there is no such thing as unanimous agreement on complex philosophical issues, if we approach the question from a humanistic, scientific stand point, atheists ought to agree that there should be rational standards for arriving at moral conclusions. Like science and mathematics, useful systems of morality derive from some basic axioms, or recognize assumptions.

A few possible axioms in morality are:

  1. Every person has their own feelings and desires, and they are more or less similar since they are based on the same brain chemistry.
  2. When I look inward to my own desires, I fundamentally desire to pursue happiness and avoid pain and suffering.
  3. Other people have these same basic desires, and these desires are valuable to them.
  4. With all else being equal, it is better for people to be happy than not be happy.
  5. Conflicts arise mainly because people’s desire to be happy and avoid suffering conflict with each other. The goal of secular morality is to resolve those conflicts in the best possible way for all concerned.

A few natural consequences of these axioms:

  1. All else being equal, it is wrong to needlessly inflict suffering on people.
  2. Except for the case of self-preservation, with all else being equal, it is best to avoid killing other people (on the assumption that they don’t want to be killed).
  3. Actions such as slavery and rape are wrong because they excessively limit people’s happiness and freedom of action.

Point is, logic can be used to create a functional and grounded moral systems and value systems.

Ending this chapter with Lurie stating, “A world without God in charge means a world only of men in charge. It has never turned out well.” (pg. 155)

Lurie apparently has forgotten he lives in a country called the United States of America, a country ruled by a secular Constitution. No mention of God, Jesus, the Bible, the Trinity, the Resurrection, or anything biblical in the Constitution or Bill of Rights. Instead, it states that no religious test is required in order to acquire an office of the government, meaning that the government welcomes theists and atheists. Leaders and judges are sworn in with the option to place their hand on a book of law, a copy of the Constitution, or a holy book…. if America truly was a “nation of God” there would be only option of book to swear into office with and belief in God would be a requirement to hold office.

Chapter 4: See? I Told You Not To Turn Skynet On

Basically, Luries equates Skynet from the Terminator franchise to atheism, if you let it gain control, it’s Armageddon. Funny, because history tells us that when Christianity was the  equivalent of Skynet, the world entered the Dark Ages.

“No, this one will be more like an apocalypse of the past—one we’ve seen many times before: Sodom and Gomorrah, pre-Israelite Canaan, or the Germanic tribes of the first millennium, and just about anywhere outside of ancient Rome and Greece.” (pg. 157)

I think I felt my IQ drop 10 points after reading this.

According to the Bible, Sodom and Gomorrah weren’t destroyed because of godlessness.

Don’t believe? Read what the Bible says were the crimes of Sodom, and look within that list if it mentions godlessness or faithlessness or rejection of God.

“I have seen also in the prophets of Jerusalem an horrible thing: they commit adultery, and walk in lies: they strengthen also the hands of evildoers, that none doth return from his wickedness: they are all of them unto me as Sodom, and the inhabitants thereof as Gomorrah.” – Jeremiah 23:14

“This was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom, pride, fulness of bread, and abundance of idleness … neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy.” – Ezekiel 16:49

“Even as Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.” – Jude 7

“Whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words … Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrha in the day of judgment, than for that city.” – Matthew 10:14-15

“But into whatsoever city ye enter, and they receive you not … I say unto you, that it shall be more tolerable in that day for Sodom, than for that city.” – Luke 10:10-12

So we have fornication, lust after “strange flesh,” wealth and ignoring the poor, pride, laziness, adultery, lies and general immorality.

What’s missing from that list? Godlessness.

As for pre-Istraelite Canaan, why list this in your examples of godlessness when even the Bible says that the Canaanites believed in gods?

Same with the Germanic tribes, they had gods too.

just about anywhere outside of Rome and Greece,” was Lurie home schooled?? Seriously, it sounds like he’s under the impression that everyone except the ancient Jews, Romans and Greeks believed in God. Has he ever heard of Odin? Or Anubis? Or Krishna?

Godlessness and Big Government

Lurie starts going through rules and regulations. Page after page. How businesses must operate, how to talk to interviewees, the accurate percentage of “cream” in ice cream, to seat belts, taxes, and so on and so on and so on. What the point of all this? Lurie eventually makes the point,  “Without God, the rules keep pumping out of the state and federal bodies, piling up like landfill waste. Why? Because government believes it needs to be ever vigilant to plug up this or that “hole” in business or personal matters where a business or individual might be in danger of having too much discretion.” (pg. 158)

Does Lurie not know that the Torah contains 613 laws? Or all the rules in the Mishnah? Rules from how to rule to what kind of clothes you can wear… and if you don’t obey these rules, the punishment isn’t a $35,000 fine, it’s DEATH.

Lurie ends with this remark: “Godlessness must lead to big government. And big government enables big evil things.” (pgs. 159-160)

Before we proceed any further, I’d like to introduce Lurie and my readers to someone. Since Lurie is so assertive that godlessness MUST lead to big government reveals how little he knows about atheists.

 

The person above is David Silverman, president of American Atheists and self-proclaimed “Firerbrand Atheist.”

What is an atheist like him doing at CPAC? He goes to CPAC to not just normalize atheism, but also show that atheists can support small government.

If Lurie wasn’t either ignorant or trapped in a bubble, a simple use of Google will reveal that conservative atheists exists. Ever watch Fox News, Silverman isn’t the only atheist that gets invited onto the show, but so does atheist conservative S.E. Cupp.

http://theatheistconservative.com/tag/small-government/

On the flip side, if Lurie isn’t ignorant or too lazy to use Google, the last option for him to claim that atheism leads atheists to support Big Government must make Lurie a lying sack of shit

Big Government and Big Evil Things

Lurie opens this section with noting that the 20th century was brutal, with 200 million deaths (more weren’t soldiers) and totalitarian regimes enslaved over a billion people.

When I checked to see his source, it was a source by Dennis Prager on “The Differences Between the Right and Left.”

I remember this piece being recorded in a video and posted on YouTube… and I remember Aron Ra, the Texan Tank, ripping Prager a new one.

“In every case, it was a big government that did all this massive killing and enslaving.” (pg. 160)

Was America a “Big Government” when America committed genocide against the Native Americans.

Was ancient Israel “Big government” where it permitted the “God-given” institution of slavery?

“Of course, this does not mean all large-sized government is evil, but it does mean such massive and orchestrated killing can only happen with large-sized government.” (pg. 160)

So large governments can be a force for good or a force for bad.

Who really Imposes Values?

Lurie lashes out at Occupied Wall Street. Lurie notes that OWS was not happy with the widening gap of income inequality,

greed, corruption and undue influence of corporations upon government—particularly from the financial services sector, Wall Street. Lurie notes that OWS had a long list of separate demands, but no policy was ever changed after all of OWS’s efforts. Then Lurie makes this remark, “

Notably, neither the list for demands, nor the mission statement of OWS, included a call for more religion nor adherence to the Ten Commandments. Also, there appeared to be no serious mechanism for enforcement of a code of conduct. But that was okay, since no one had developed a code of conduct to enforce.” (pg. 162)

I’m a Progressive Liberal, and I have a lot of beef with OWS (from not getting anyone elected to only achieving the creation of a cardboard library), but the issue is that Lying Lurie is leaving out the big picture: Why did OWS happen in the first place?

Yes it was primarily because of income inequality, the crash of 2008 and the corruption on Wall Street, but those enraged both the Left and the Right. The same time OWS started, so did the Tea Party. Both sides were pissed for the same corruption and economic shitstorm, they only differed on who to blame: the incompetent government and/or the wealthy who bribe and manipulate the government.

And what would a call for more religion accomplish in reversing income inequality or corruption on Wall Street? Which of the 10 Commandments says “Give to the poor” or “don’t be greedy” or “don’t bribe politicians” or “don’t rig the game in your favor”?

Lurie, like the lawyer he is, could try to argue “thou shall not steal” would’ve stopped the housing market crash… how so? Wall Street bundled shitty subprime mortgages into C.D.O.s and sold them and bet on them. What was “stolen”? Rather, it was a matter of hiding the truth and cheating. Did the banks and Wall Street lie? Oh hell yes they lied their assess off, plus they bribed the Ratings Agencies to give them AAA’s on absolute shit subprime mortgage bonds.

So would have more religion stopped this lying and cheating? Considering that this happened in America, the most religious first-world country in the industrialized world, and not in secular Europe, seems like religion didn’t do a damn thing to stop it. Just like religion doesn’t do a damn thing to stop the lying within the churches that protected thousands and thousands of pedophile priests. Plus the Commandment “thou shall not lie” would not apply in this case, because the Commandment is about bearing false witness in court against a fellow Jew, nothing about lying your ass off in the financial market.

Furthermore, it’s quiet ironic that Lurie should mention OWS in a chapter that is targeting Big Government. How did the crash happen? There were several ways, one of the big ones was the repeal of Glass-Steagal Act. The Glass-Steagal Act put a wall between commercial banks and investment banks. In simplest terms, the later are gamblers, the former is where you have a savings and checking account. After the Great Depression, Congress wanted to put a firewall between the two types of banks, basically Wall Street could burn itself to the ground and it wouldn’t effect the commercial banks where your money is saved. After Glass-Steagal was passed, it lead to the largest sustained period of economic growth in US history; a 60-year expansion of the middle class, the largest period of productivity growth and the largest increase in median income. Also during that period, we won WWII, put a man on the moon, and we put a computer in almost every home. (Curious isn’t it, you’d think that after everything Lurie tried to paint Big Government in a bad way would’ve reflected even a little bit in reality during this period in American history)

Then guess what happened? A Democratic President, Bill Clinton, repealed the Glass-Steagal Act in the 90’s. At that point, Lurie would be river-dancing screaming “HOORAH, GOVERNMENT JUST GOT SMALLER!!!” Now the commercial and investment banks merged, and they started gambling with YOUR money… and they lost it when the market crashed. Pensions gone. Mortgages lost. Jobs vanished. Retirement savings gone. People lost homes. And global economies crashed.

And right after it happened, people were wondering why none of this was regulated? All pushes for Big Reform were killed on the spot all thanks to the crook Banks that started all this used all the money they collected from the Treasury to use their lobbying powers to put a complete stop to every kind of reform to bring back any regulations AND use their lawyers to make sure the bank CEOs never saw a day in prison. And then, with no regulations, in 2015 the same banks went back to selling “bespoke tranche opportunities”… which, according to Bloomberg, that’s just another word for a C.D.O. In other words, they are repeating the very same criminal acts that wrecked the global economy all over again. Because they don’t care about collateral, they only care about profits, and there is no government regulation that can stop them.

To summarize: small government was created, the banks went wild and evil, and ruined millions of lives yet never went to prison.

Fuck Wall Street, fuck the Banks, and fuck the Ratings Agencies.

And Bill Clinton, you fucked up, so fuck you!

“If there was one overarching reality of the atheist ideology of communism it was that everyone had to get with the program. Or you died.” (pg. 163)

The book of Acts has two explicit passages depicting the very communistic nature of the early Christian community:

“All that believed were together, and had all things in common; And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need.” – Acts 2:44-45

“There was not a needy person among them, for as many as owned lands or houses sold them and brought the proceeds of what was sold. They laid it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to each as any had need. There was a Levite, a native of Cyprus, Joseph, to whom the apostles gave the name Barnabas (which means “son of encouragement”). He sold a field that belonged to him, then brought the money, and laid it at the apostles’ feet.” – Acts 4:34-37

Is it possible that Marx’s famous line “From each according to his ability, to each according to his need” took its inspiration directly from the New Testament?

Immediately following this second passage is a very interesting story about a couple, Ananias and Sapphira, who sold a piece of property but only gave the community a portion of the proceeds, keeping some of it for themselves. When Peter confronts them with this, they both fall down and die – leaving the impression (for many people) that they were struck dead. The fear of death spread across the people with an ultimatum: join communism or die.

Killing bourgeoisie land owners who fail to give all of their money to the community? That’s not merely communism, that’s Stalinism.

Of course, in addition to the above, there are many, many statements attributed to Jesus which emphasize doing all that you can to help the poor — even to the point of him recommending that a rich man sell all of his possessions and give the money to the poor if he really wishes to get into heaven. The Old Testament also indicates that something akin to communism is the preferable way to live:

“This is what the Lord has commanded: Gather of it, every man of you, as much as he can eat; you shall take an omer apiece, according to the number of persons who each of you has in his tent. And the people of Israel did so; they gathered some more, some less. But when they measured it with an omer, he that gathered much had nothing over, and he that gathered little had no lack; each gathered according to what he could eat.” – Exodus 16:16-18

It is no wonder, then, that any number of Christian groups has adopted ways of living which, while explicitly based upon biblical stories, are also expressions of communist ideals. Such groups include the Shakers, Mormons, Hutterites and more.

In summary, this isn’t so much a problem with the Bible as it is a problem with the people who claim to follow the Bible and use it as their primary guide to how they should live their lives. Some certainly take passages like the above to heart — witness the strong social ethic of many Catholics and the very communistic Liberation Theology which has developed out of Catholicism.

Most, however, simply ignore the above passages – just as they ignore so much else which is politically or morally inconvenient.

“Atheist regimes always ultimately sought to impose their atheism on the believers of their countries. This was true in French Revolutionary France in 1789, Revolutionary Mexico in 1917, Post-War Albania, the Soviet Union, China, North Korea and virtually every other atheist society…. By contrast, governments of faith (certainly those of the Judeo-Christian variety, but others as well) tended not to criminalize atheists for their beliefs in atheism.” (pg. 164)

……INQUISITION!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

How can you fucking forget about the Inquisition?!?!?! During the Inquisition, the accusation of atheism or blasphemy, alone or both, was enough to sentence someone to be tortured or executed. These included the priest Giulio Cesare Vanini who was strangled and burned in 1619 and the Polish nobleman Kazimierz Łyszczyński who was executed in Warsaw in 1546.

In Nazi Germany, a 1933 decree stated that “No National Socialist may suffer detriment… on the ground that he does not make any religious profession at all”. However, the regime strongly opposed “godless communism”, and all of Germany’s atheist and largely left-wing free-thought organizations were banned the same year; some right-wing groups were tolerated by the Nazis until the mid-1930s.

When the Roman Empire was transformed into a Christian Empire, in the 6th century CE, all pagan rights were declared void. Many temples were destroyed, pagan priests and philosophers were arrested and killed, and pagan believers persecuted all across the Empire.

Even in America, the most religious first-world industrious country in the world, atheists face discrimination and harsh social acceptance. Even in Muslim countries, Saudi Arabia has passed a law classifying all atheists as terrorists.

Even if there were no atheists ever in all of American history, Christians still criminalized people for their beliefs. Just ask the Native Americans and the Mormons (not to mention all the denominations being persecuted and killed during the colonies).

“What was unique about the advent of democracy—with its novel notions of free-market capitalism and freedom of religion—was that by definition, it did not impose what you must believe.” (pg. 164)

Yet Christians in America want the 10 Commandments on display outside of federal buildings, court houses, Congress, and just about everywhere, and they fervently refuse to let Hindus or Satanists share the same “freedom” to display their statues.

But the damning point is that while Lurie claims that America respects the freedom of religion, the Bible (and thus Christianity) does not. The very first Commandment of the 10 explicitly and totally contradicts the 1st Amendment of American. The 1st Amendment grants all citizens the right to choose to believe whatever religion they want, whereas the 1st Commandment demands that every single person believe in the god Yahweh and no other God at all. You cannot respect freedom of religion and praise a Commandment that commands you and all humans to believe a certain religion and forbid all others.

Take a Couple of Cynical Pills and Call Me in the Morning

Lurie goes on to say that if America was more cynical, we would’ve stopped the rise of fascism in Germany sooner and possibly saved millions of lives; and we would’ve acted sooner to stop the spread of communism; and we would’ve acted sooner to stop “horrific programs” like Eugenics and China’s “One-Child” policy. “But we also believed their propaganda that getting rid of “misfits” and other undesirables was good for the world.” (pg. 166)

Lurie is speculating that America, the highly religious country that spread the propaganda of getting rid of the “savages” and other undesirables, would’ve done something to prevent the spread of such propaganda is they were not cynical enough?

“Had the world questioned the Revolutionary Revolutionary Guards’ intent to overthrow the Shah of Iran, which led to the Iranian Revolution of 1979 and the subsequent creation of the most dangerous Islamic state the world has known and the metastasizing of terrorist groups such as Hezbollah and Hamas and other terrorist groups throughout the world, we might have worked to keep the Shah in power.” (pg. 166)

We might have worked to keep the Shah in power…. you mean the guy who got into power because the US and Britain initiated a coup in 1953 to overthrow the democratically-elected Prime Minister of Iran?

Hmmmm, whatever happened to the American mission to “spread democracy” globally when the CIA acted to overthrow a democratically-elected politician. The only conclusion is that America is one giant hypocrite.

Next Lurie touches on the Syrian refugee crisis, and if people were more cynical, they would have opposed the notion to let refugees into their countries. Lurie notes the ones who predicted bad things would happen if they allowed refugees in were all “believers in God.”

No, they we xenophobic assholes.

Once again, to prove my point that Lurie hasn’t read his Bible:

“When a foreigner resides among you in your land, do not mistreat them. The foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born. Love them as yourself, for you were foreigners in Egypt.” — Leviticus 19:33-34

“When you reap the harvest of your land, do not reap to the very edges of your field or gather the gleanings of your harvest. Do not go over your vineyard a second time or pick up the grapes that have fallen. Leave them for the poor and the foreigner.” — Leviticus 19:9-10

He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the foreigner residing among you, giving them food and clothing. And you are to love those who are foreigners, for you yourselves were foreigners in Egypt.” — Deuteronomy 10:18-19

Do not oppress a foreigner; you yourselves know how it feels to be foreigners, because you were foreigners in Egypt.” — Exodus 23:9

“So I will come to put you on trial. I will be quick to testify against sorcerers, adulterers and perjurers, against those who defraud laborers of their wages, who oppress the widows and the fatherless, and deprive the foreigners among you of justice, but do not fear me,” says the Lord Almighty.” — Malachi 3:5

“No stranger had to spend the night in the street, for my door was always open to the traveler (Job, discussing his devotion to God)” — Job 31:32

“For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.'” — Matthew 25:25-36

“For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” — Galatians 5:14

Show Mercy to Your Neighbor:

He asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”

In reply, Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. The next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’

“Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”

The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”

Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.” — Luke 10:29-37

“We learned before that it was predominantly the Christians who led the charge to abolish slavery in the United States and in most of the West.” (pg. 167)

A) The claim that Christians led the Abolitionist movement in America is seriously challenged. Rather, many of the largest proponents and faces of the Abolitionist Movement based their ethics from a separation from the teachings in the Bible. Please read Slavery, Abolitionism and the Ethics of Biblical Scholarship by Prof. Hector Avalos to learn more.

B) And who led the charge to keep the institution of slavery cemented in the United States and most of the West? CHRISTIANS. Several states declared that slavery was a “God-given” right, and they saw the North as trying to strip them of their God-given rights and their way-of-life.

How is it that Lurie can write a book that has a sub-chapter about the “atheistic” French Revolution and miss the fact that the Revolutionists abolished slavery! Slavery was abolish in France in 1791, not by the church, but by the atheistic founders of the revolution. Freethinkers and irreligious people had called for the abolishment of slavery since the beginning. In the U.S. the early critics of slavery, Benjamin Franklin, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and John Quincy Adams, were all either freethinkers or Deists. Later the abolitionist cause was taken up by such people as Abraham Lincoln (a Deist), Raplh Waldo Emerson (a Unitarian minister turned free-thinker), and William Lyold Garrison (an agnostic). In England, the battle for the abolition of slavery was fought mainly by free-thinkers such as Jeremy Bentham and John Stuart Mill.

“Likewise, we saw it was the Catholics, Protestants, and Jehovah’s Witnesses who resisted the Nazis and who hid Jews and other victims.” (pg. 167)

As did Muslims and atheists and even NAZIS!!!!

Yeah, even Nazis hid Jews and other victims. Ever heard of Schindler’s List? Or Karl Plagge?

The religious are in fact deep skeptics and sometimes great cynics when they need to be….[The religious] are the first ones to leave that crowd that’s formed around the salesman hawking his snake oil.”

Seriously, where do I begin with this????

Spoilers: within his very book, Bark Lurie will reveal tall of us that he fell for the snake oil off Robert Lanza who says Time is a fiction.

Seriously, there are SO many examples for me to give about theists and faith dominating all sense of skepticism (Flat Earthers, creationists, etc), hell the fact that faith demands a suspension of skepticism is all I need. Case and point: several years ago in Fresno, CA there were a group of Christians who gathered around a tree outside a hospital. When they prayed while touching the tree, water would sprinkle from the tree and land on them. They took this as a miracle, that they were receiving the tears of God. They took this on faith. Yet when a skeptical investigator took a look, he saw something that is common in trees all across CA to the South. On the trees are little bugs that eat the sap then expel it from their abdomens. In other words, those Christians were literally being pissed on. When the investigator showed the Christians and pointed them to the bugs, did the Christians change their minds? Did they stop believing? Did their beliefs change according to the evidence? Did they feel embarrassed? No. They continued to pray and believe it was a miracle. They chose to deny facts and reality and believe anyway, because that is what faith demands: belief is more important than whether something is true or not. There is a saying in the South, “don’t piss down my back and tell me it’s raining.” In other words, “don’t take me for a fool.” And yet, if a person adopts an epistemology of faith that demands you believe X regardless what the facts are, they can be literally pissed on and will praise it as rain. This is why faith demands we “fool ourselves.”

“Aren’t the atheists the ones who revere science, and follow it wherever the facts may lead? That’s what they keep telling us, anyway. Not so much. Many religious believers have in fact come to God through deep scientific and statistical analysis, as well as logical deduction (like myself).” (pg. 167)

So what are these scientific and logical deductions?

….

Oh, he doesn’t share with us.

Go figure.

To Hell With Your Freedom

Lurie shares that he was watching the news of a Muslim protest in London, one lady held a sign that said “To Hell With Your Freedom,” and that scared Lurie, to which he says this, “Not everyone seeks or cherishes freedom. Let me repeat that: Not everyone seeks or cherishes freedom.” (pg. 171)

No argument there, but it’s ironic coming from a guy who worships a book that is just as totalitarian as the Muslim lady in London with the sign.

“Freedom is the right to think, the right to learn, the right to self-actualize. These are all active in nature.” (pg. 171)

And yet American Christians discriminate against atheists. And before that, all the way back to colonial times, they constantly discriminated against each other.

“And as God leaves the picture, a funny thing occurs: freedom,
and fighting for it, seems so antiquated, as if it’s relevant only to a
time long passed… So we don’t fuss much when college campuses impose “Speech Codes,” when the government suggests forcing news channels to air opposite opinions (the so-called “Fairness Doctrine”), or when legislators consider criminalizing those who question whether humanity is primarily responsible responsible for climate change.” (pg. 172)

Just awhile ago, Lurie was cheering that freedom means the “right to think, the right to learn,” yet he has a problem with news channels being made to give opposing opinions?

“It is not surprising that atheists are more likely to prefer dictator rule. They fear a world with freedom—as I once did.” (pg. 173)

AND THERE IT IS. This whole time, Lurie is just projecting himself onto the rest of the atheist community. Just because he was an ignorant little cunt doesn’t mean the entire global atheist community is like him.

“If man has no free will and is little more than a self-centered sophisticated animal, then we must control him for all that he might do.” (pg. 173)

Funny, I missed that memo when engaging with atheist anarchists, atheist progressives and liberals, and atheist libertarians like Penn Jillette. I don’t even recall hearing that from atheist conservatives like Robert Price.

“To the nonbeliever and to the socialist nonbeliever in particular, democracy is a nuisance, an obstacle to all their big plans. They resent it. After all, in a democracy, the people might vote to undo the socialist’s grand plans, whether that might be universal health care, requiring all to run their homes and businesses on solar/wind power, or mandating a new way of educating children.

” (pg. 173)

Fuck you Barak Lurie. Democracy is a great thing. Even if there are idiots who vote against progress, democracy is to be respected, not discarded. In a democracy, you can’t always get what you want, so you must learn to live with it. And that goes for all sides.

When Obama won, thousands of Republicans cried like babies and feared the world was going to end. They drew Hitler mustaches on Obama’s portrait. Many reacted with violence, like attacking someone wearing an Obama t-shirt. There were cases were cars with Obama stickers were wrecked or vandalized. Even Florida Rep. and Tea Party congressman Allen West said that whenever he saw a car with an Obama bumper sticker that they are a “threat to the gene pool.” The number of armed right-wing militias in the country has exploded, from 42 in 2008 to 276 in 2016, as did the number of hate crime reports.

When Trump won, thousands of Democrats cried like babies and feared the world was going to end. They called Trump the next Hitler. Many reacted with violence. Remember the “Punch a Nazi” movement? Many went a lot further by tweeted “kill all whites.” Gun sales among minorities quickly escalated.

It could be said that both sides, despite their political differences, act the same because we all human. It could be argued that last sentence is a false equivalence fallacy. All I know is is that after I vote, should my preferred candidate lose, I have no intention to join the madness should my preferred candidate lose. I would love to know who said that we all should act like children and poor-sports when things don’t always go our way?

The truth is this: Democracy is not always fair or easy. Learn to live with it. I don’t know who said democracy should be easy or center around you. I also don’t know who came up with the idea that our feelings should never get hurt in a democracy. Grow up. I’m an atheist, I’ve been told just expressing my very existence as an atheist is “offensive.” Do I remain silent after hearing that? Hell no!

Just because the media loves to show non-stop images of the worst of human behavior does not mean that all liberals, or even atheists or socialists, hate democracy. I wouldn’t say such a stupid thing about the Tea Party after Obamacare was democratically passed, despite their crying. Too bad Lurie doesn’t have the common sense or decency to return the favor.

But would I say that Christians hate democracy? The answer is some do and some don’t.

Democracy is evil and contrary to God’s law.” – MISTER Kent Hovind

In this piece, Barak Lurie didn’t cite a single atheist who has implied that democracy doesn’t work or that democracy should be abolished. Instead he relies on his own prejudice of atheists. The truth is though that reality just doesn’t support Lurie’s prejudice of atheists. Even Lenin and the Bolsheviks practiced Soviet democracy until Stalin took full power – that fact alone shows that the “godless communists” are compatible with democracy (that is until a dictator takes over). And even if Lurie could find an atheist who openly declared their disapproval of democracy, that wouldn’t mean ALL atheists dislike democracy or even that atheism itself leads every atheist to be anti-democratic.

I can argue that democracy is nowhere to be found in the Bible. I could even find and cite a handful of Christians who disapprove of democracy and favor a theocracy (ex. here is a Christian church website explaining democracy is not biblical.) Barak Lurie already has heavily implied that man-governing-man/democracy is a bad thing and would be better off being replaced with God-governing-man/theocracy…but that would only prove that some, not all, Christians disapprove of democracy.

“And so, consistent with that, the godless will tend to push for as many laws to control as many aspects of life as possible.” (pg. 173)

Is that why atheists aided in the movement to legalize same-sex marriage? Is that why a bunch of atheists become libertarians or anarchists? Seriously, when was the last time an atheist politician in California tried to control Lurie’s life?

“It was God who gave the notion of freedom any meaning.” (pg. 174)

Really, can you live any life you want, or are you expected to live to God’s standards?

Well, I guess you can live a wicked life if you choose, because God can still accept you in the end.

Freedom to do WHAT?

Lurie opens with a thought experiment: imagine if the government gave you enough “goodies” such as:

  • not have to work hard (30 hrs. a week, guaranteed pension upon retiring at 55)
  • to feed your family
  • give you plenty of free time
  • free university education and health care
  • Public transport and other services at minimal expense
  • never have to worry about hunger or shelter
  • have as much sex as you wanted (Lurie: “other than pedophilia and perhaps bestiality and incest, but that may change, too“)
  • Drug enforcement would still exist but not very strictly
  • Everyone is more or less in the same boat, so it’s hard to complain that anyone is getting more than you.

IMPORTANT: The only expectation in return is that you don’t fight the system, or expect anything beyond what the system gives you. Just do as the government tells you, and don’t stand out.

Now, Lurie proposes, the counter-offer: Give up all those “goodies” and fight for something different that “could be much greater” and something that allows you the possibility of a more meaningful life” but you might die fighting for it.

….. so what “could be much better” than living in a society that provides all those “goodies”?

Lurie:So, what is it that could be greater? What is the thing you might die for? It is the freedom to create, to innovate, and to discover—the freedom even to fail. And with those things is the ultimate purpose: the freedom to connect with God.”

What the fuck does Lurie think goes on in Europe?????

Does he seriously think that Europe doesn’t have those freedoms???????

Freedom to create, innovate and discover… Ugh hello, Europe built a goddamn Large Hadron Collider!!! It’s the single most largest machine ever built in the world. They created it, innovated it, and discovered breakthroughs in physics with it. That’s a triple whammy in one!! Where the hell was Lurie when CERN announced they discovered the Higgs Boson??? We here at TWL heard about it. We interviewed Lawrence Krauss on our podcast 3 days after CERN discovered the Higgs Boson.

Most innovations in the US were and are independent projects publicly funded. Cell phones and the Internet were funded by the government. There is no reason why socialism would stifle that. Living in even the most socialist country in Europe, you are still free to create, innovate, discover or fail in. If we pick a country at random, let’s day the Netherlands, they pretty much have most of the “goodies” Lurie listed and they’ve taken over the market for building large wind turbines. Or Germany, they have those “goodies,” look at all the cars they create and innovate — there are so many to list, but I recall many years ago hearing the news that an independent car company created a car that got over a 150 mpg that ran only on diesel — which, btw, the diesel engine was invented in Germany by Dr. Rudolf Diesel. Multiple countries are uniting right now to build a fusion nuclear reactor in France. Read about those European countries with all those “goodies” that are making huge progress in medicine. Does Barak Lurie use Skype? Guess what, it was designed in Estonia. Has he ever used a 3-D printer? Read the history how that machine came to be, and take a note of all the European innovators. I mean, for fuck sake, where does Lurie think the Titanic was built? It was Belfast, Ireland — the same country that made the first successful submarine to be used in any military.

Seriously, does Lurie think that America is the center of the universe? That Europe is some black hole where nothing comes from? Seriously, how big is the Bubble that Lurie lives in??

I mean, look back at the list of “goodies.” Note that Lurie said that could live in a country that made you work 30 hours a week…. what the fuck does Lurie think the jobs will be? Does he think that Europe as a whole went on a gigantic freaking halt in every industry and business since the 1900’s to prevent themselves from not trying to get ahead or thrive in the world market?

Lurie states the “freedom” in America is the “only freedom worth fighting for” and why so many died fighting to defend it.

The US sent soldiers to die for the same exact freedoms that were already present in Europe??????

Newsflash: The colonists fought for Independence. When they were still Colonies, they already had the “freedom to create, innovate, and discover.” Remember Ben Franklin? He invented the Lightning Rod. Does that story not ring a bell?? Franklin also invented the metal-lined stove about 30 years before the Declaration of Independence was signed (the stove was so popular in the 13 Colonies it gradually replaced a lot of fireplaces). As for the “freedom to discover,”… ugh hello, the colonists lived in “the New World,” there is literally new things to discover all around them. That’s why people decided to live on the frontier.

So why would the colonists go off to war to fight for freedoms they already had?? That doesn’t make any sense. That’s like women starting a Civil War in 2016 for the right to vote when they already have the right to vote ever since 1920, so what would be the bloody point?!

The point that the colonists fought for was not the “freedom to create and discover,” they already had that, the truth is they fought and died for Independence, the right to govern themselves…. the very damn thing that Lurie has been saying over and over is a bad thing when you let people govern themselves.

What else has America fought for? Let’s take a look:

  • America went to war with Mexico because America was a conquering nation who wanted land. Lots of land.
  • Same reason why America committed genocide of the indigenous people, America wanted the land.
  • America went to war with Spain for the same reason: fighting over territory.
  • America went to war with itself in the Civil War to end the institution of slavery — both sides fought by Christians claiming they had God on their side.
  • The US entered WWI only after the RMS Lusitania in the Atlantic was attacked and found out that Germany was trying to form an alliance with Mexico.
  • The US entered WWII only after Pearl Harbor was attacked.
  • America entered the Korean war to stop the spread of communism.
  • Same thing in Vietnam, were thousands were drafted into the war. Ask yourself: what did that war accomplish?
  • And America finds itself continually being sucked into war after war with the Middle East, all for geopolitics and access to resources like oil.

Seems like pretty much every major war America had fought in since it’s inception wasn’t over the “freedom to create, innovate or discover,” it was about expanding territory, moral issues, getting roped into wars, and economic dominance.

And I haven’t even counted the number of nations the US had bombed in between and after these wars.

“Think of this, then: Without God, no real need for freedom exists. After all, if the government provides everything you need, then what is there really to complain about? And even if there is something to complain about—say, the government has not yet delivered enough milk to the supermarket, or the government should subsidize wine or provide contraception and abortion free of charge—are such things really enough for you to die for? I didn’t think so. What other than the quest and right to seek or worship God would you be willing to actually die for? I assume everyone is willing to die for their family, but I am talking beyond this.” (pg. 176)

You don’t get to dismiss fighting for your home and families when asking for a reason to fight for your country.

“Imagine taking a piece of paper and writing: “I am willing to die for the following: . . .” If you don’t believe in God, your list will be short. In fact, it is likely not to include a single item.” (pg. 176)

Seriously, this guy sounds like he could work for ISIS.

“It explains why the media so often attack Christianity and Judaism (neither of which seek to conquer the world nor impose a religious scheme over everyone)” (pg. 176)

Horseshit.

Ever heard of Dominionists? It’s their whole goal to take over governments worldwide.

Fanatical reconstructionist Gary North said,

the long-term goal of Christians in politics should be to gain exclusive control over the franchise. Those who refuse to submit publicly to the eternal sanctions of God by submitting to His Church’s public marks of the covenant – baptism and holy communion – must be denied citizenship, just as they were in ancient Israel.” – Gary North, Political Polytheism: The Myth of Pluralism, 1989

Former presidential candidate (how scary is that) Pat Robertson once said,

There will never be world peace until God’s house and God’s people are given their rightful place of leadership at the top of the world. How can there be peace when drunkards, drug dealers, communists, atheists, New Age worshipers of Satan, secular humanists, oppressive dictators, greedy moneychangers, revolutionary assassins, adulterers, and homosexuals are on top.” – Pat Robertson: The New World Order, 1991

The Society for the Practical Establishment and Perpetration of the Ten Commandments released this sentiment:

the constitution’s satanic ability to create the abominable and death-worthy crime of homosexuality (Leviticus 20:13). The diabolical process by which it accomplishes homosexuality and the foolish tolerance thereto is highly involved and varied. So, a very simplified explanation of the workings of the basic principle must suffice here. The constitution, practically the first amendment, in essence states that male citizens have the so called “right” and “freedom” to think, speak, act in ways opposite to their God-given and thus rightful role as males; and female have the so called “right” and “freedom” to think, speak, and act in ways opposite to their God-given and thus rightful roles as females. In no way does the constitution encourage faithfulness to your rightful gender, but strongly discourages it by virtue of its most poisonous concepts of “rights” and “freedoms.” – The Society for the Practical Establishment and Perpetration of the Ten Commandments

Imagine if such people are not in charge of a school, town, or a State. Imagine people like this in chage of the whole country. It will practically be identical to a Islamic caliphate. I’m not exaggerating. Reconstructivism effectively began with R.J. Rushdoony of the Calsidon Institute. Rushdoony was a racist, misogynist Christian Dominionis who unabashidly denounced democracy (He wrote that “the heresy of democracy has since then worked havoc in church and state … Christianity and democracy are inevitably enemies” because democracy asserts the will of man over the will of God) in favor of an American Christian theocracy that he hoped would be so extremist that it would enforce Levitical Law.

If you think Sharia is scary, prepare to be horrified. Levitical law has a price list for slaves; it issues a death sentence for breaking any law such as sex outside of marriage to working on weekends; disobedient children to be stoned to death; women are half as valuable as men; blasphemy and even apostasy.

You’d think extreme right-wing conservative Chrisians like this could never get into power like a school… but imagine these guys taking over and radicalizing the Republican Party, then winning a Senate seat or the Presidency.

R.J. Rushduty himself said that the State, the school, the arts and sciences, law and economics and evey othe sphere without exception is to be under Christian dominion.

“Christ called an army up to go forth and conquer in his name. In the book of Acts we are told of the Christians that these people are turning the world upside down. It would be wonderful if that were said of us again.” – R. J. Rushdoony

“And it explains even now why public schools and governments are so willing to highlight and even teach Islam in public schools, while simultaneously banning the teaching of, and even reviling, Judaism and Christianity.” (pg. 176)

I don’t live in California, but I can almost see the smoke signals from Lurie’s pants. And I’m too far away to tell based on smell (thank goodness), so it can either be smoke from his pants blazing in a wicked inferno for being a lying muppet, or it’s thick exhaust from the steaming mountains of morbidly disgusting piles of shit cuz that’s all Lurie is full of right now.

Every public school has a library, and I’ll guarantee somewhere in it you’ll find a Bible. Students, even in high schools, form Bible study groups or Christian clubs (my high school had both, and we couldn’t form an Atheist club because the only teacher willing to be in charge was going to teach college level the next year). Students are allowed to pray in and out of the classroom as much as they want — and they do, I’ve seen them do it on the spot usually when the teacher announced a surpise Pop Quiz. Even I prayed in class when I was a Christian in my teen years, nobody stopped me, not even once. The only thing about prayer and schools that is un-Constitutional is the teachers orchestrating a class prayer. Why? Theists, ask yourself, if the teacher was a Satanist, would you want that teacher to make your kids pray to the Lord of Evil? I didn’t think so. But fair is fair, if a teacher can’t make a class pray to Satan, or Allah, or Krishna, or any other god, then neither can a teacher make a class pray to Jesus. To do otherwise is unjust favoritism as well as a violation of state inducing religion.

If public schools are teaching “Islam” it is only in the context of a history course, or they’re in a History of Religion course — in which kids are taught about ALL religions including Christianity. Same with colleges. If you’re learning about Islam as a course lesson, you’re either in a History of the Middle East course or a History of Religion course (I’ve taken both of those courses in order to get my BA in History). The only other time you might hear about Islam is if you are in some social science class discussions how demographics of people are treated or mistreated.

Oh btw, if anyone does permit a teacher of a public school to make the class say a prayer to Satan, I’ll jump in like Jay and start singing... just to see the scared look on the faces of those Christian kids. Once I’ve have a quick laugh, then I’ll report the teacher, all the way to the courts, claiming “this is un-Constitutional you Honor!”

“The agenda of finding God pulls you away from the playbook of the dictatorship countries, or even the agenda of the socialist countries.” (pg. 178)

Seriously, read Acts 5!!!! Acts 2, 4, and 5 is practically the foundation of denominations of Christians embracing Biblical Communism.

Read the words of Jesus Christ. What did he say? He told his followers to heal the sick… he didn’t mention a word about “for a price.” In other words, heal the sick for free. But as usual, people will bitch “nothin’ is free” like we already don’t know that. So okay, then use your taxes to pay for it… otherwise known as universal healthcare.

“Still skeptical? Ask any European today whether he’d die for freedom. I did.”

(pg. 178)

Great ready for an anecdote folks.

We don’t know how many atheists he talked to, if they were atheists at all. Hell, we don’t even know in which European country these “atheists” are from.

“They’ll give you an absurd look; of course they’re not. They will tell you that fighting is a barbaric relic of the past. Fighting is unnecessary and even evil itself.” (pg. 178)

So Lurie managed to find either two or few more or whatever number of alleged atheists who are pacifists. Did it ever occur to Lurie that people are sick of bombing countries that result in the creation refugees that flood into Europe? Stop dropping the bombs, those people will still have homes to live in, thus a highly reduction in refugees. Did if ever occur to Lurie that people are just sick of meddling in the Middle East?

“They’ll even look contemptuously at you and ask, “What do you mean by freedom?” And that’s what you’ll hear from the thoughtful ones. More often, they just shrug their shoulders, as if you asked them to speak passionately of the difference between stalagmites and stalactites. The very question means nothing to them.” (pg. 178)

Did it ever occur to Lurie to maybe… just maybe… ask an American atheist in the military?

It’s a myth that there are no atheists in foxholes, that hasn’t been true for a long time. One of my best high school mates, an atheist, joined the Marines.

Hell, there’s an entire organization representing the atheists in the military. It’s called the Military Association of Atheists and Freethinkers. Did it ever occur to Lurie to use Google for 5 seconds to see if there were any atheists in the military, or did he just not care to even bother?

“And then, just to wrap it up in a bow, ask them if they believe in God. Nine of ten will say no, or wave you off, like it, too, is a thing of the silly and destructive past. The tenth will say yes but in a whisper, as he leans in.” (pg. 178)

Haven’t forgotten that this is anecdotal. Yet statistically speaking, depending on the European country, the “non-religious” population is higher, sometimes slightly or sometimes largely, than the “religious” population.

While Americans tend to be far more religious than their European friends, the trend even in the United States also leans to negativism, if not outright atheism. Church attendance is beginning to wane, as it did decades ago in Europe.” (pgs. 178-179)

GOOD!!!

“China for a Day”

First line, “The dictatorial impulse is within all of us.”

Says Barak Lurie. Unless he’s a certified psychic and won the James Randi challenge, he can bugger off.

Plus, does he even believe that himself? If he does, then what excuse is there for the apostles running around and telling everyone “we saw the risen Messiah! Join our faith and follow these rules”?

Is it because they were “good people”? Again, read Acts 2-5. Peter forced a whole town to adopt Stalinism, the only two who refused to give up all their possessions ended up dead. Dictators often use force to gain total power, but force isn’t always necessary or a requirement. So when the Apostles finally have achieved the “upon this rock, I’ll build my church” and packed their churches full of freshly recruited people into their faith, what do you think they did next? They started telling people how to live their lives; what they can and cannot do, say or think; who to marry; who to abolish from their lives; how much money to pitch into the church; and so on. And they still do it to this day. Do you think it’s an accident that the Pope lives in a giant palace full of gold and priceless artifacts?

Anyway moving on…

Lurie notes that Woody Allen and Harry Belafonte thought it would be a good idea for Obama to become a dictator just so the Republicans won’t get in his way of getting things done.

A) Assuming these are not taken out of context, this liberal democrat (me) would scoff at those two and call them idiots.

B) A director and commentator expressing their opinions does not mean the entire Left or Democrats think it’s a good idea to give a President dictatorship powers.

Next Lurie goes after Thomas Friedman of the New York Times who wrote a book titled Hot, Flat, and Crowded that America should become “China for a Day” because China gets things done. The only reason Lurie shares is that Friedman likes that China banned plastic bags and he thinks waiting for public interest groups like Sierra to sue violators of environmental laws takes too long. Lurie basically FREAKS OUT; panics that Friedman wants regulations, taxes, and “right standards”; wondering what Friedman means by “right”; going on and on crying “Friedmand is implying favoritism of dictatorship over democracy”l arguing the Founding Fathers wanted gridlock over efficiency; stating Friedman is nitpicking to use dictatorship to combat climate change and not illegal immigration or abortions; and finally Lurie reminds people that China is full of scary things like there is little to no due process.

Ooooooh nooooooo, no due process in China? Gee, thank goodness we always respect due process in Amer– oh wait, Obama killed several Americans, including American children and teens, with drone strikes with no due process.

I’m a Democratic-Socialist atheist, and don’t care how many people on the Left, Center or Right lose their collective heads, I’ll oppose anyone who suggests that we start a dictatorship. I get that people are hot-headed and realize that there is a lot to do and government is so slow at getting things done it’s practically a dinosaur. The 112th Congress passed fewer bills than the “Do Nothing Congress” from 1947 to 1949. 43 million people Americans live in poverty and the infrastructure has been given a grade D. Yes, people want change and they want it FAST, so much so that you can always find a handful of people on the Left, Center and Right who express a personal opinion to shift power to specific people at the top. Or you’ll find people on the Left, Center, and Right hating the other sides so much that they will want to give their own party power.

Poll: Half of Republicans Want a Dictatorship-basically, they’re comfortable dismantling America’s established democratic institutions to keep Trump in charge almost indefinitely until the Republicans are satisfying the elections are fair.

Truth, Justice… and the Atheist Way

Next Lurie brings up George Orwell’s book 1984 where “socialism” and “Big Government” have replaced God.

I remember that book, the book that reminded me of the Bible character Yahweh. In Orwell’s book, the English Socialists expanded surveillance so much to the point they punished people for thought crimes… sounds EXACTLY what Jesus said he’d do. “Whoever looks at a woman with lust has committed adultery in his heart,” in other words “I’m going to punish you for thought crimes beyond your control.”

Oh, and before getting to the meat of the argument, since Lurie is making “socialism” look like the “bad guy”…

Whomp Whomp.

Anyway, Lurie goes on and on talking about what happens in Orwell’s book. Eventually he says, “In Christianity, Judaism, and many other civilized faiths, telling the truth, and the quest for justice is front-and-center to their respective faiths’ tenets.” (pg. 186)

OH REALLY?? Justice is the front-and-center of Judaism and Christianity??

Bullcrap.

Where is the justice in this story: In 1 Samuel 6, the ark of the Lord was being transported across country and five farmers of Bethshemesh “rejoiced to see it.” They opened the box and made a burnt offering to the Lord, and for this terrible sin God “smote the men of Bethshemesh, because they had looked into the ark of the Lord, even he smote of the people fifty thousand and threescore and ten men: and the people lamented, because the Lord had smitten many of the people with great slaughter.”

Is it moral to kill 50,000 people for a petty offense? Is it moral to punish 50,000 people (who weren’t even there or had any idea what was going on) for the crimes of 5 farmers? Is that justice?

I challenge Barak Lurie to name a time when an entire town the equivalent of Glendora, CA was arrested for the crimes of 5 people caught in the San Gabriel Mountains or whatever equivalent to the outskirts of town.

And exactly what was the crime? These men were trying to worship this very god, in their own way. Wouldn’t a God of mercy understand their innocent mistake? What if one of your young children gave you a birthday card with the words “Daddy/Mommy, I luv you” and you punish them for spelling the word wrong? (By the way, is it reasonable to think there was a settlement of more then 50,000 at that time in history? Short answer: No.)

Next Lurie tries to make a comparison analogy. A girl goes on a date with a guy and wants to get to know him, so she asks what are his passions, ambitions, and thoughts on starting a family. He might brush off those questions and talk about sports or maybe he’s a “bad boy” who lives by his own rules. “but he’s revealed a great deal about himself by what he has not spoken about. And so it is with atheism: here’s an ideology that speaks nothing about truth nor justice.” (pgs. 186-187)

If you want an atheistic ideology that does speak about truth and justice, ask an Epicurean or Stoic. Or a Secular Humanist.

If you want to know what an atheist thinks about justice and truth, just ASK THEM. If they don’t answer or a straight answer, ASK AGAIN. Fuck me dead, how hard is that to figure out? Lurie never mentions what the girl on the date did after the boy doesn’t answer her questions — guess what, she has options. She can ask again, maybe rephrase the question.

Rather than examining the girls options at the date, Lurie skips to them getting hitched and noting that the girl should not be surprised if the guy starts acting like a jerk and doesn’t want kids.

Reality is that you have a better chance having a lasting marriage if you marry an atheist, considering that atheists have the lowest divorce rates below all other faith groups, whereas conservative Christians have the highest.

A Word About Your Word

Basically Lurie tells us that once-upon-a-time, our word was our bond; a handshake meant everything; and our reputation was so important to us that people would challenge people to a duel over an accusation of lying. Nowadays, handshakes don’t matter; honor is missing; and people weasel out of contracts and try to be sneaky in cheating people. How did it come to this? Lurie speculates maybe because people thought they could “move away and start over” but doesn’t think that’s the case.

After noting that Superman used to stand for “Truth, Justice, and the American Way” but as time passed consumers are less concerned with values. “Even today’s superhero characters themselves don’t seem to understand why they’re fighting, or if they stand for anything at all.” (pg. 190)

ZIP IT!!!

I’ve been a Marvel nerd since I was 3, and ohhhhhh boy Lurie went there.

First of all, Lurie doesn’t even cite any sources, so it’s a subjective opinion of a guy who hasn’t established that he is a super-hero fan. Ever wondered why Superman was all about “The American Way”? Because he was written during WWII, as an icon of American values combating Nazism. The same exact reason why Captain America and Wonder Woman were created. But after WWII was over, it was time for Superman and other comic book heroes to evolve.

And don’t give me that crap that today’s superheros don’t understand why they are fighting or that consumers don’t care about values. Superheroes are crime fighters, that’s what they do. They save people, they save their cities, and on the largest scale they save the planet from invasion and/or annihilation. That alone tells consumers to value saving humanity, face injustice, oppose crime, and doing what is right.

But life is complex, and there are times when things don’t seem as black and white. Comic books highlight this quiet often, after all complexity makes a great story. Otherwise they would be quiet boring. And the complexity is not just about juggling their social lives with their private lives as masked heroes, it’s bigger than that. Superheroes, while their job may sound simple, quickly learn it isn’t. They often find themselves in ethical conflicts and difficult situations which force them to make hard choices, then later question things like did they make the right call or am I really a hero? Do the ends justify the means? One small mistake can turn the public against them. Spider-Man wasn’t born with powers, but after he got them he quickly learned about his responsibilities because he never had powers before. And yet while he saves a lot of people, the Daily Bugle turns the public approval of him upside-down. The Hulk tries to do the right thing, but most of the world sees the Hulk as a monster. Or take Superman, who was given a choice by the alien Rokk (who has the ability to destroy whole planets with his mind) to kill one human or Earth blows up. Superman agonizes over this choice because he made it his life’s mission to save lives, not end them. He couldn’t even bring himself to kill alien life like Rokk to save billions.

Take for instance when DareDevil and the Punisher butting heads in the second season of DareDevil on Netflix. DareDevil is a crime-fighter who beats criminals to a pulp with his bare hands while refusing to kill because he believes in redemption. Whereas the Punisher truly believes in arming himself to the teeth and shooting the criminals on the spot. To the Punisher, he thinks that beating a criminal or throwing him in jail adds up to nothing, because the criminals get back up or get out on bail and go back to a life of crime, theft, rape, and murder. So he must take out the criminal once-and-for-all to ensure that no innocent person becomes a victim. Both DareDevil and the Punisher are Heroes, in the sense they fight evil. But their difference in methods force us to question which method is the moral one? This is a question explored all across comics, such as the conflicts between Batman and the Red Hood. Or my personal favorite, Deadpool and Colossus.

Comic books teach us consequentialism and deontology. These conflicts and questions are part of what makes comic book stories amazing. Sometimes it makes us ask even bigger questions about heroes in general. Like in the film Captain America: Civil War, should heroes be kept in check, or should superheroes have the right to intervene in global politics without facing prosecution from human law? (Like how soldiers during war are protected from murder charges, but should that protection apply to superheroes?) Another excellent question was presented in the same film when Vision noted that superheroes by their very existence attracts stronger super villains, thereby creating more problems. Do the problems outweigh the benefits? Sure Superman may be an icon of the truth, justice and the “American Way”… but comic books make us ask the question: is Earth better off with or without heroes like him? For example, after Superman comes to Earth, his presence attracted Mr. Mxyzptlk to come to Earth just to terrorize him. Or in Man of Steel, Superman’s presence invites General Zodd, and the two Kryptonians battle it out that result in Metropolis in ruins and countless people dead. In the Dark Knight 2, Batman’s existence invites the creation of the Joker, who terrorizes Gotham and vows to keep doing so until Batman reveals his identity. The destruction and piles of bodies got so bad that even the cops wanted Batman to turn himself in.

From time to time superheroes fall into a state of self-reflection or put themselves on time-out. Superman exiled himself after having a nervous breakdown after killing 3 alternate-universe Kryptonian criminals. The point is heroes are vulnerable, it’s a hard job trying to save as many people as you can, you’re constantly faced with hard choices which makes one question the actions they’ve done and wonder if what they are doing is right. This reflection helps the audience not only understand the importance of principles and living up to them but it also helps us build a connection and bond with our favorite superheroes. It enables us to watch their trials and inner struggles, which helps us understand them while simultaneously challenging us to wonder if we would do the same things or make the same choices. That’s what makes comic book heroes role models. As Stan Lee put it: heroes are human too. And that is why we love them.

Sorry for the long rant, but this is one subject I’m passionate about. Lurie seems to think that comic book heroes no longer know what they are fighting for…. I 100% disagree. The inclusion of fighting for and protecting values in comic books hasn’t gone anywhere. What comics have done sine the 40’s have grown more and more complex, because the world and life is complex. But they haven’t forgotten to teach us important lessons. Take Captain America, in the show Avengers Assemble Season 1 episode 19, the Avengers are hired by Dr. Doom to body guard him as he speaks at the U.N. Everyone on the Avengers hates the idea of protecting Doom because Doom is a top-class evil villain who tried to kill them several times and take over the world. Even the vast angry crowd outside the U.N. is furious at the Avengers, yelling and demanding to know why heroes are protecting a villain? A fair question to ask. And that is where Captain America reminds the team (and us the audience) that no matter how much we may despise evil men like Doom, we must protect our most important principles: “every person has the right to speak up for their country” and “Free speech. If we do not protect his right to talk today, who knows, tomorrow it could be you.” This reflects my views perfectly, it is the very thing I (a Progressive Liberal) thought during the riots at Berkley trying to shut down conservative speakers. It broke my heart to see many people, especially liberals, abandon their principles. What made it worse is that for many of them, they just did not care. I’m glad though that there are plenty of us Liberals who still stick to our principles.

Lurie then argues that “timeless” values like integrity, truth, and justice must come “something outside of us, something beyond: God.” (pg. 190)

OBJECTION!!! SPECUATION, UNSUPPORTED ASSUMPTION ASSERTED AS FACT!

Values, by their very nature, are human inventions. Values are held by humans, stored in our heads, and molded by humans.

Lurie then wonders how long to atheists think society will last when such values vanish, then says, “ask the next Roman you meet.” (pg. 190)

Is Lurie implying that the Roman Empire fell because of atheism? For those of you who are historically-literate, you know the fall of the Roman Empire was caused by a lot of factors. There were barbarians at the gates, the Roman generals and Senators focused too much with fighting each other over power, the Roman Empire was too large to sustain, etc etc etc.

Chapter 5: Atheism On One Hand; Humans On The Other

The Battle for Free Will

We discussed before that any philosophy class will ultimately come to the same conclusion: true freedom or free will, or your ability to exercise any choice itself, can only come from an external force that gave it to you.” For his source, he just tells readers to read the classical thinkers: Isaac Newton, René Descartes and “the other continental rationalists,” Gottfried Leibniz and Baruch Spinoza, Thomas Hobbes, John Bramhall, George Berkeley, John Locke , Immanuel Kant and David Hume. (pg. 191)

First of all, any philosophical class will tell you that free will doesn’t mean that it can only come from an outside sentient agent. I should know, I took those university philosophy classes. What became crystal clear in the first week is that 1) nobody is expected to accept any philosophical conclusion after a lesson because, and this is very important 2) there is no “settled cases” or “solved debates” anywhere in Philosophy, because every view is constantly re-examined and debated constantly. If there is one thing Philosophy professors LOVE to do is start open conversations as springboards for further lessons and constantly play Devils Advocate just to poke holes in your arguments or philosophical views just to make you aware of where you stand and keep your brain thinking.

Anyway, let’s knock some of those names on Lurie’s list out of the way: Isaac Newton was a determinist who based his views on his laws of motion, but ALL THAT went out the window since quantum mechanics was introduced. Spinoza was a Determinist. Hobbes was a proponent of Compatabilism. So was Bramhall, he believed that God already determined everything (no need for free then folks). Leibinez was a determinist, he believed that God knew the future to all events. Locke and Hume were Empiricists, essentially determinists.

Kant was a determinist in regards to the physical world. Outside of the physical world Kant found wiggle room for God.

That leaves us with Rene Descarte. Descarte tried to challenge the skeptics of his day about how he could trust his own thoughts. He responded to the skeptics in his “Meditations” book. In the First Meditation, Descarte hypothesized that if he was created by a benevolent spirit with a rational mind, then he could trust his mind and his senses. For example, a benevolent God would not make our conception of mathematics false. Later on, Descarte also speculated what if his mind was created by a malevolent spirit, or a trickster, that deliberately intended to deceive him? If that happened, then he couldn’t trust his mind.

Anyone else see the problem there? It is staring us right in the face. Remember what I mentioned about what goes on in a Philosophy class? We we first red Meditations and went over this lesson, I raised my hand. My questions was simple: “Isn’t Descarte just asserting there is a god as an answer without first proving there is a god? Isn’t his whole argument one big special plea for there to be a God?” My Philosophy professor’s face lit up with wide a wide smile, pointed to me and said, “Excellent! Very observant, well done.”

He went on to expand what I just said. Right after that, the ball started rolling and more of the class started to get involved. We talked about how Descarte’s case that his mind was created by a “benevolent spirit” remained an assertion, but even if we assumed for the moment that our minds were made by a spirit, how would be able to prove that said spirit is not a trickster putting on a false act of being benevolent and implanting us with irrationality that we were therefore incapable of recognizing or spotting it? This is a problem I’ve never heard a Christian apologist solve.

And then the Christian apologist needs to address the next problem: if the human mind needs a maker, then what created the mind of the maker? If nothing created said mind, then why not save a step and settle with that minds don’t need to be created? If you answer that a mind had to come from another mind, then it’s turtles all the way down.

Moving on, the first thing Lurie challenges atheism is how do atheists explain free will? He does on to state that “The atheist will try to fashion an argument that free will can come about through the standard evolutionary process. How so?”

Read a book.

  1. Dennett, Daniel C., 1991. Consciousness Explained. Boston: Little, Brown and Company.
  2. Minsky, M., 1985. The Society of Mind. New York: Simon & Schuster.

Lurie basically compares using evolution to explain everything biological is equivalent of an astrologer using the position of the stars to explain X and a alchemist using matter to explain Y…. basically Lurie is equating a well established scientific fact with pseudoscience.

With no further investigation of what else an atheist may say to explain what free will is or where it comes from, Lurie ends this section by insulting atheists by claiming they are just fish in a fishbowl who know nothing outside the bowl, don’t realize the house was designed by carpenters and architects, has no idea the kids go to school, and has no idea what “learning” is or what government is or anything.

“Free will is a reality within each of us. It is what ultimately makes us human. It is what make us free. When we toy with a world without God, we have no real freedom nor do we have real free will.” (pg. 192)

Funny how Lurie said that the “soul” isn’t what makes humans human. How can you have free will with God?

The Unbearable Impossibility of Being — Part Two

Lurie dives into consciousness and self-awareness and asks, “How do we explain the differences between our brain and our mind?” (pg. 193)

I’ll spare you the trouble: they are one in the same.

A bit later, Lurie says this, “Consciousness and self-awareness are unknown qualities. We can’t meaningfully explain it, nor will we ever truly understand it.” (pg. 193)

So if these two things are completely unexplainable, then no answer will ever satisfy Lurie about how they came to be. Whatever neuroscience or cognitive science explanations can be provided, Lurie can just go “we won’t know everything about those, so biology is useless.” Turn the tables around and we can say the same thing about a God giving us consciousness.

Lurie just says evolution will never explain how “me” became me, so Lurie insists that “something bestowed that sense of “me” into each of us.”

In other words, Lurie is being outright dismissive of any scientific explanation, even if new data should emerge, and just assets that a God gave him consciousness. PROVE IT LURIE!

There is no scientific proof of our “me.” No amount of probing with microscopes, mathematical formulas, or surgeries will find it. Like free will and time (which I will discuss later), it is a fiction, at least from a scientific point of view.” (pg. 194)

This is an argument from ignorance. Not knowing an explanation does not mean an explanation is impossible. And since we are barely beginning to understand what consciousness is, it is not surprising that we would not have its origin worked out yet.

It means that we must ignore our consciousness and self-awareness. And in doing that, we dehumanize each individual. It means we have to view ourselves at best as sophisticated automatons. There is no basis for accountability or responsibility.” (pg. 194)

Not having an answer for consciousness does not mean accountability or responsibility go out the window.

I’ve asked Christian apologists many questions and gotten responses like “I don’t know why God did things like that” — I’m sure Lurie would object if I went “so you don’t know the answer, therefore Christianity has no basis for X, Y, Z.”

“Me” can only come from a Creator.” (pg. 194)

Me: OBJECTION!!! SPECULATION, UNSUPPORTED ASSUMPTION ASSERTED AS FACT!

Judge: Susitained. Mr. Lurie, please provide proof to substantiate your claim.

Me: YEAH, PROVE IT LURIE!!

All we’ve seen so far is outright dismissive of science based in ignorance, with the gap filled with wishful-thinking that the ONLY answer must be a supernatural being that Lurie has yet to demonstrate is anymore real than a leprechaun.

Purpose

Begins with a story of a warden named Burl Cain turning the “bloodiest” prison in America (Angola in Loisiana) into a nice place by giving the inmates a “sense of God.”

Is that the same Angola that has been described as a “18,000-acre complex that still resembles the slave plantation it once was” and the same Burl Cain that said, “you’ve got to keep the inmates working all day so they’re tired at night.”

“[Purpose] seems to alleviate our internal pain and helps us out of our doldrums. But today, it seems so many suffer from some form of depression. According to the US Center for Disease Control, “suicide rates for baby boomers have increased nearly 30% from 1999 to 2010” and even a greater jump among men in their fifties.” When Lurie begins to ask why this is happening, he rules out the economy because of inventions like the Internet, smartphones and tablets… then right away, Lurie says, “What is the one thing that can explain this ever-accelerating loss of happiness?” (pg. 196)

That’s your problem Lurie, you keep thinking in such simplistic terms that the source of such complex issues can be boiled down to one thing.

“The notion of America being special in any way means little, too. The media maintains and echoes the notion that our country is only one among many and that the US has done many evil things.”

So Lurie is upset with the media for report something factual? I’m being serious. The notion that America being the “greatest country in the world” has no factual support. Seriously, what makes a country great, and how could we know? Is it crime? Compare the mass shootings the US has with Australia, then take note that America has more incarcerated citizens per capita in the world (even more than North Korea).

This topic brings backs memories of a good movie.

Given that there is no basis to prove that America is the greatest country in the world, what would Lurie rather we do? Would he prefer that he stroke his patriotic ego by lying to students with a BS soundbite that has no basis in fact?

He can jerk himself off for all I care, that doesn’t mean that I or the rest of us have to please him by repeating a “America is #1” mantra.

And what is Lurie’s problem with schools and the media telling students that America doesn’t have a unstained history? Is he implying that we should white-wash history to protect students fragile minds? I got my BA in History for a reason, because it is important. There’s a common phrase you might have heard… if you don’t know your history, you’re doomed to repeat it, so what do you think is going to happen if schools keep students completely in the dark of the awful things America has done?

How are Americans supposed to grow as a nation if they don’t know where they came from or understand the struggles they went through as a nation that made America better and stronger?

Lurie complains that “many schools” no longer recite the Pledge of Allegiance or allow students to wear clothes with the flag designed on it “because it may offend some people.” Lurie complains that schools teach “”multiculturalism,” propping up every other culture and not expecting immigrants to embrace the culture or language of America.” (pg. 197)

A) America is the “land of the free” for a reason, we have the freedom to stay silent during the pledge if we choose. Mandating people say the anthem is something North Korea does, is that what Lurie wants? Does Lurie want America to be “North Korea for a Day”? (Irony abounds)

Key historical “fun fact”: The Pledge of Allegiance was written in 1892 by Francis Bellamy for a national Columbus Day celebration ceremony, the program of which was published in The Youth’s Companion magazine. It reflected his idea of a united America after the Civil War. At the time during Reconstruction the country was still very much divided because of the conflict between North and South. The Pledge reinforced the idea of one nation, something important to many after the Civil War and the attempts of the South to secede. Francis Bellamy was vice president of the Society of Christian Socialists. This was an organization that promoted the view that society should be organized based on the teachings of Jesus Christ and was critical of capitalism and individualism as corrupting forces in society.

And before WWII, this was the way kids saluted the US Flag during the pledge,

B) Multiculturism can be useful, given that America was founded and defended by immigrants, but I wish people would purge the idea that all cultures are equal. Ask yourself: would you welcome and respect the Southern culture that wants to bring back slavery? Ever heard those Southern “rebels” yelling “the South Will Rise Again!” Would you respect their culture and let them grow and spread it? If not, then don’t tell me all cultures should be respected when another person tells you they don’t want to live in a religious culture, be it Christian or Islam. If you don’t like slavery, keep in mind that slavery did not end in the Middle East until the 1960’s, and they only abolished slavery until powerful nations like Britain forced them to end slavery. Morocco argued slavery was their religious right granted to them in the Quran, just as the South used the Bible to justify slavery. I don’t want a Christian theocracy where everything is dictated by the Bible, and I sure as shit do not want the Christian South to “rise again” and bring back discrimination and/or slavery. In all the very same respects, I don’t want to live in a culture dictated by the Qu’ran, or any holy book. No thank you. That doesn’t mean I don’t want religious freedom (letting people accept whatever faith they want, I’m all for that) it just means I wish to live in a secular country.

“Where once serving in the military was a privilege, an honor, and an opportunity to serve your country and spread freedom, it is now something many in the public view with contempt.” (pg. 197)

Is Lurie so out of touch with people that he doesn’t understand why more and more people feel that way? Are you blind to how badly veterans are being royally screwed?

Then Lurie repeats this tiring old conservative lie: “Our culture utterly diminishes God. It wants Him out of our schools, our public squares, and our city halls.” (pg. 197)

It’s called the Separation of Church and State, which has been in our culture since America’s inception, because America was created as a secular country.

After noting that church attendance is in decline, Lurie says this, “When I do visit a church, it’s often the “kumbaya” kind, where God is love, expectations are few, and people arrive late, usually in jeans, flip flops, and T-shirts. The men don’t shave and the women relish their day not to put on make-up. (It is the weekend, after all.)” (pgs. 197-198)

Wow.

Dude… you live in CALIFORNIA.

Would Lurie be satisfying “dictating” what women wear to the point he’d like them to cover themselves up?

“And when they do talk about any standards from the Bible, it’s often only to rationalize a trending social issue. Abortion? There’s a passage in the Bible for that. Gay marriage? You bet. We’ll even perform the ceremony right here for you.” (pg. 198)

Which goes to show the point I’ve been making forever, there is no clear message in the Bible, it can literally be used to justify anything. The American South used it to justify slavery and racism. A Holy Book that doesn’t provide any moral direction offers none at all.

“It will only be a matter of time before American churches become mere museums, empty embodiments of strange worship of an unknowable, unseeable God—like they are already in much of Europe.” (pg. 198)

And I’ll tell ya, that day cannot get here soon enough.

Lurie goes on to say that all this has happened because we have chosen to ignore God, and thus lost our purpose. Then after that, he says, “Your only purpose becomes, at best, to protect your own family and other loved ones.” (pg. 198)

To that I say, that’s more than enough. For one thing, my family and friends are actually real and I can empirically prove they exist, unlike the God of the Bible or any god.

But right after mentioning family and friends, Lurie says this: “And even then, why?

Is it me or do I smell a sociopath?

After page after page of Lurie bashing atheism as meaninglessness that contributes to nothing, Lurie eventually says this: “That doesn’t make it false, of course. It just makes it devoid of all meaning and purpose.” (pgs. 200-201)

This is pretty much the moment the ENTIRE BOOK admits it’s an entire waste of time. So what if atheism is correct all along, what is Lurie going to do then? Play pretend to cope? Like a person pretending the sky is red.

If Lurie wants to cry, moan and ponder about atheism and meaning, it’s rather coffee-house talk that isn’t as important whether atheism is true or not. So until Lurie can demonstrate that atheism is false based on evidence for God, making a series of emotional appeals is a waste of time because emotional appeals don’t change reality. I can make an emotional appeal that we are immortal green 3-eyed aliens playing a virtual video game as humans, playing a game of life just to see how many years we can last. Appealing sure, but that doesn’t mean it’s real.

And what exactly is Lurie think he is accomplishing with such emotional appeals? Emotional appeals don’t matter if I cannot convince myself to believe the unbelievable and illogical. Make atheism look meaningless… therefore I should believe in a self-contradictory being that has no evidence of it’s existence? Make atheism look meaningless… therefore there are leprechauns at the end of every rainbow.

Make atheism look meanings…. as opposed to what? What is Lurie’s purpose? Even if atheism was meaningless, how can the meaning and purpose of Christianity be any better??? Seriously. Given the descriptions of God in the Bible, God matches the description of a demon worse than the most vilest of humans. What is the appeal of having a purpose to worship such a being for all eternity?

Even if we ignord that the God of the Bible intended for billions of people (including children) to be tortured forever, he is still an immoral monster. Spending eternity trapped in a world of a Bible-god would be a lot like being trapped in the little home of little Anthony Fremont, the creepy kid from the Twilight Zone. If you have never seen that show, there was a little boy who had the powers of God. If he didn’t like something you said or THOUGHT, he would either turn you into macabre monstrosity, kill you in some unthinkable fashion, sentence you to a living nightmare that never ends, or banish you to the corn field (an implicitly oblivious place which was never adequately described in the story. If he just showed you a ghastly curse he just put on the cat or your spouse, you would have to show him approval no matter how sick or twisted it was. You had to smile wide and praise him for doing that awful thing, “that’s a good thing you did Anthony, a real good thing.” Because if you didn’t, if you did not make yourself think nice things about him, he would tighten his lips, widen his eyes and all you could do was hope he kill you quickly. So whenever Christians talk about Heaven, that is what I imagine. Think about enduring that forever.

So even if I was on my death bed, and I tried desperately to convince myself to believe in the God of Christianity, my fate is either Hell with Satan… or Hell with God. I will be tortured forever, or tortured forever. Earlier in this book, Lurie was going on and on about things worth fighting and dying for, specifically freedom, but can you imagine living with no freedom for eternity under a celestial dictator? That sounds like torture, that sounds like despair, that sounds like Hell.

The next paragraph is only 3 sentences and Lurie only examines the “survival of the fittest” answer and dismisses it. Then the next line of the next paragraph on pg. 201 is “Once you accept this basic principle—that our need for purpose comes from outside of us, from a Creator—” OBJECTION!

OBJECTION!!!! SPECULATION! UNSUPPORTED ASSUMPTION ASSERTED AS FACT!!!

Like Descarte, Lurie is merely asserting there is “something” outside of us and assuming that thing is a sentient entity. What both Descarte and Lurie are leaving out is PROOF of this sentient entity, which makes their whole case mere speculation and wishful thinking.

If Lurie ever wants to make such an assertion again, he better provide evidence.

Next Lurie says, “My father maintained our only purpose is to create. By this he didn’t mean just to invent fine, new, useful products or to write great books, paint art, or produce music. He meant that each of these things could bring us closer to understanding God. The process of creation is itself a step toward God.” (pg. 201) Even though he just said this didn’t mean inventing music, art, books or gadgets, Lurie immediantly starts listing examples of music, art, books, and gadgets. *facepalm*

If we follow Luries logic that “the process of creation is itself a step toward God” what does it say when humans invent nuclear bombs, biological and chemical weapon, and other weapons of mass destruction? What does it say about humans that create torture chambers and internment camps?

It reminds me of a line from a show called Hellsing. 50 years after WWII, an escaped Nazi Major manages to create something: an army of Nazi Vampires, with the intent of using them to start World War III. Before the Major launches the first attack, the Major televises his vampire soldiers literally eating the former Nazi-in-command. An archbishop of the Vatican watches the carnage, and tells the Major “you’re insane. All of you.” At that moment, the Major replies “are you questioning my sanity? Let me ask you, if your God would allow my madness to flourish across the globe, then wouldn’t that seem to you that any God like that would be just as mad I? We are the finest of the Third Reich, do you have any idea how many people we’ve killed? I’m insane? What foolishness. You didn’t have any objections 50 years ago.” (referring to the time when the Vatican became Hitler’s ally and when the Vatican aided in the escape of numerous Nazi leaders).

So if there is a God, and that God permits us to create to get to know God, what does it say when we create tools of death and destruction? Sounds to me that kind of God is a demon. A demon can give you nice things here and there (temptation) but it’s true colors are pain and mayhem. If there was a God, and it really was a loving omnibenevolent God, then we wouldn’t even have the concept of making anything that can harm anyone or anything.

Next Lurie sites several sources that argue that religious people are less depressed than non-religious groups.

The claim that a believer is happier than a skeptic is no more to the point than the fact that a drunken man is happier than a sober one. The happiness of credulity is a cheap and dangerous quality.

Atheism is correlated with better scientific literacy [2][3], lower poverty rates, higher literacy rates, higher average incomes, less violence, lower divorce rates, lower teen pregnancy rates, lower STD infection rates, lower crime rates and lower homicide rates. It correlates highly with the well-being of individuals and societies by almost every possible measure.

Atheists can be spiritual (a must watch).

Studies on happiness outside of predominantly religious countries (eg. the United States) find little to no correlation between happiness and religious belief. This corresponds with evidence which shows social and community bonding, rather than spiritual engagement, explains why religious people report greater satisfaction with life. Atheists, by comparison, may also simply be unhappy with the level of distrust and persecution they receive from their compatriots.

The Greatest Fictions of Morality and Time

Lurie opens this section by arguing since a dog doesn’t have a concept of time or care where it’s grandparents came from, “He knows none of these things, not just because he’s a dog. It’s because he has no sense of time. No animals do.” (pg. 204)

This argument is self-refuted by the fact that humans are animals.

“But make no mistake: time is a fiction. Until the days of Abraham, life was “time-free.” People didn’t incorporate the notion of “time” in their lives.

They thought about life as moving in a circle, the Great Circle: you were born, you

worked for the masters above you, and you died.” (pg. 204) Lurie later on says that we can all return to the “Great Circle” if we stop lying to ourselves. “So why keep lying to ourselves? We can all just go back to “reality”.” (pg. 205)

Lurie’s sources for this madness… non-physicist Thomas Cahill and Robert Lanza.

It was one chapter ago when Lurie said, “The religious are in fact deep skeptics and sometimes great cynics when they need to be…They are the first ones to leave that crowd that’s formed around the salesman hawking his snake oil.”

The Hypocrisy and Irony Meter just MAXED OUT!!!!

The “religious are deep skeptics” MY ASS. Lurie, you are a fucking muppet. First to leave the crowd when someone sells snake oil, yet you prove in your own book that you’re a hypocritical idiot the moment you bought and swallowed the snake oil from Robert Lanza and Thomas Cahill.

Lanza’s conclusion is the same – biocentrism is true for time. No matter what the facts about the nature of time, Lanza concludes that time is not real. His model is unfalsifiable and therefore cannot be a part of science. What Lanza doesn’t let on is that Einstein’s special-relativity theory removes the possibility of absolute time, not of time itself.

And it’s not just Lurie who is the colossal idiot. In the “ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS” in this book, he tells us three guys who proof-read his book and checked it for accuracy: Chet Thompson (BA in psychology and CEO of ad agency CT3Media), Ari David (conservative host of the Ari David Show) and William Creedon (economist). Go figure, none of these guys are historians or scientists. Somehow, all of these guys failed to spot this “time is an illusion” fuck up; or if one did, Lurie was so certain that time is a fiction that he insisted that it be included in this book.

While Lurie straight up told us that time is a fiction and we are lying to ourselves that time is not a fiction, Lurie says “thankfully” humans inscribe great importance in time. “I write that “thankfully” we do have our notion of time. Why? Because without a past and future there can be no purpose. There can be no sense of morality. There can be no justice. There can be no goodness, wisdom, or even personal growth. And there can be no progress in the march toward our collective enlightenment—however each one of us might perceive that. For all these things, we must have Time.” (pg. 206)

But if you know that time is a fiction, then all your senses of “morality, justice, wisdom, etc” is a fiction.

“Here’s another conundrum for the atheist: if he refuses the “fiction” of God, he should also reject the fiction of time. After all, understanding the fictitious/fantasy nature of time is “scientific,” isn’t it?” (pg. 207) Skipping ahead near the end of the section, Lurie writes, “Because atheism must reject time, it is dangerous for that reason as well. Without time we have nothing and we are nothing.” (pg. 209)

Lurie just unlocked a special achievement.

And you can see it in his outlook on all “higher” human pursuits. Hasn’t the atheist poo-poo’ed classic art? Hasn’t he derided any movies with any sense of higher purpose for man? Ask most atheists what kind of art, movies, or music they like, and more often than not they will list artistic endeavors (in the movie realm) such as Apocalypse Now, Taxi Driver, and No Country for Old Men, and other movies that make you want to put your head in an oven; or (in the music realm) Pink Floyd’s The Wall, Radiohead’s more depressing music (The King of Limbs); or (in the book realm) anything by Jack Kerouac or J. D. Salinger (of Catcher in the Rye fame); or (in the realm of art) the large rock at the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art, or any canvass that seems to have no subject in it but has a frame around it for some reason.” (pg. 208)

Lurie is a bigot.

The Dangers of Utopia

Lurie leads with the Star Trek film Wrath of Khan to note that the Genesis project was flawed to pitch to that “utopia” is unobtainable because people posses conflicting versions of “utopia” that clash with yours, thus no perfect “utopia” will be achieved. He argues that the only successful system was America because democracy works the best and America was founded under the belief that rights came from God.

Where? Where does the US Constitution say that “rights come from God”? I’ve asked this to many Christian Americans and while obtaining my History degree, and the best answer I’ve gotten always leads back to the Declaration of Independence. The reason appears obvious: the Declaration mentions the rights of men are endowed upon them by their Creator. (You may notice that some Christians avoid the Constitution, with its absence of God.) There are several issues with this, such as the word Creator is entirely Deistic and does not describe the personal God of Christianity. Thomas Jefferson who held deist beliefs, wrote the majority of the Declaration. The Declaration describes “the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God.” This nature’s view of God agrees with deist philosophy and might even appeal to those of pantheistical beliefs, but any attempt to use the Declaration as a support for Christianity will fail for this reason alone.

Another problem, the Declaration of Independence does not represent any law of the United States. It came before the establishment of our lawful government (the Constitution). The Declaration aimed at announcing the separation of America from Great Britain and it listed the various grievances with them. The Declaration includes the words, “The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America.” The grievances against Great Britain no longer hold today, and we have more than thirteen states.

Although the Declaration may have influential power, it may inspire the lofty thoughts of poets and believers, and judges may mention it in their summations, it holds no legal power today. It represents a historical document about rebellious intentions against Great Britain at a time before the formation of our government.

Of course the Declaration stands as a great political document. Its author aimed at a future government designed and upheld by people and not based on a superstitious god or religious monarchy. It observed that all men “are created equal” meaning that we all have the natural ability of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That “to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men.” Please note that the Declaration says nothing about our rights secured by Christianity. It bears repeating: “Governments are instituted among men.”

Then Lurie says atheists will object by claiming Christians want to push their “utopia” where God rules unto everyone else. To this, Lurie says, “This argument fails for obvious reasons: First, it will be virtually impossible for the atheist to show any effort on the part of Christians to dominate society, molding everyone else into Christians. This is a straw-man argument about Christians that the atheist has made up. Where are the White Papers of any Christian denomination (or any Christian or Jewish system for that matter) demanding that we run our countries as Judeo-Christian theocracies?” (pg. 213)

By now, after everything my readers have already seen on this blog alone, there is clear evidence out there of Christians who pursue to make Christianity dominate society. Research Dominionists and Reconstructionists, they are just a couple of denominations and factions of Christians who wish to see Christian theology dominate every nation.

Second, in reality it is the atheist who seeks to impose his will—by prohibiting prayers in school, attempting to force religious institutions to provide secular services (abortion and now gay marriage) in contravention to those religious institutions’ core religious principles, and obliterating references to God in the public arena.” (pg. 213)

A) Enforcing constitutional rights, protecting the Establishment Clause, is not imposing atheism. If anything, it’s imposing secularism.

B) Abortions have religious backing. Marriage is not owned by Christians, nor does marriage in the Bible dictate that marriage must be one man and one woman.

Chapter 6: Standards

Lurie opens this chapter with “As Dostoevsky noted, “Where there is no God, anything is possible.””

Yet as I pointed out earlier, even in Dostoevsky’s godless universe, that is not the case. All the murderers in his stories faced consequences of their actions.

Lurie then argues that humans need structure, and he uses the Iraelites in the Exodus as an example as if that actually happened. Spoiler alert: the Exodus didn’t happen.

Where Does Our Need for Standards Come From?

Lurie tells the story The Lord of the Flies and what happens when people realize no one is in charge and “no one is watching them, no one to hold them responsible.” They descend into native paganism, anarchy, and eventually murder.

If atheists believing they couldn’t be held responsible, why haven’t all atheists descended to “native paganism” or killed everyone? Why are Americans prisons filled with 99% Christians instead of 99% atheists?

Lurie then asks where do standards come from? He asks us to imagine a world without standards, such as language. Might would make right; we wouldn’t build houses; we would be nomadic; clothes would be animal skins at best; and music would be gone or would suck.

Lurie apparently has never bothered to fact check this to see if it aligns with reality. Otherwise he just might have heard of the Pirahã tribes (an indigenous people of the Amazon Rainforest in Brazil). The Pirahã culture includes language and houses, simple huts with pots, knives and machetes. They have no leaders, they are a hunter-gatherer tribe.

Oh, and they worship no gods.

Their language includes distinction between man and woman, as well as parent and child. So much for Lurie’s panic that atheism leads to loss of distinctions.

Daniel Everett who lived with and studied the Pirahã for 20 years eventually lost his Christian faith and became an atheist.

And from what Everett has revealed to us about the Pirahã, they are not killing each other like in Lord of the Flies. In fact, they help each other a great deal. Example, Everett recalls seeing one man who was too old to get around. He couldn’t hunt, he couldn’t even gather firewood anymore. They would bring him food every night and help him chew it, even helping him with his jaw. Everett said, “Does it bother you to give him food? I mean, he’s not doing anything.” They said, “When I was a little boy, he put food in my mouth and took care of me, and now he’s an old man and I take care of him.”

“No, I believe the first true standards came from God at Mount Sinai, with the Ten Commandments. Whether you believe the story or not, these ten simple rules resonate powerfully with the entire world (at least if you are a Christian or Jew). None of them seem out of date (as would, say, “Thou shalt give an appropriate dowry”) or just the product of political expediency of the time (“Thou shalt give Moses all your wealth and women”). All of them instead are timeless, and resonate today with equal force as they did during Moses’ day.” (pg. 219)

If Lurie truly believes that the commandments are not out-of-date and are timeless, he believes slavery is a right and women are property.

If the 10 Commandments resonate with the whole world, then how does Lurie explain the very country he lives in? I already went over how the 1st Amendment contradicts the 1st Commandment — one is about freedom, the other is fascist (believe in god or be damned).

Let’s go through the rest:

Second Commandment: “Thou shall not make for yourself a graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.” This statement, ironically, appears on a graven image monolith of the Ten Commandments in many locations. As a law, it would violate free speech. At face value, it rules out all art!

Third Commandment: “Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain.” This would be like prohibiting criticism of the president or other public officials. It is undemocratic and contrary to free speech.

Fourth Commandment: “Remember the Sabbath.” According to the biblical application of this law (as we saw in Numbers 15), millions of Americans deserve capital punishment.

The first four commandments are religious edicts, not moral guidelines. They have nothing to do with ethics or how we should treat each other. They certainly have no official place in a country that “shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion.”

Fifth Commandment: “Honor thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land” is the first statement in the Decalogue that approaches morality, although there are no details here explaining exactly how to honor parents. Do we obey them in everything? How long do we obey them? Until we die? There is obvious some merit in the idea expressed by this commandment, but there is precious little guidance here beyond a general principle that parents should be respected. Isn’t this just another variation of the bible’s “respect authority” message? Wouldn’t a moral principle suggest that you should not do anything to hurt your parents, that you should not take advantage of them, and that you should treat them with the basic respect deserved advisors? What if they belong to a kooky or abusive religious cult? What is they are evil? We all know some parents do not deserve to be honored or obeyed. How do you “honor” a father who commits incest? Notice also that the rationale “that thy days may be long” is an appeal to self-interest, not to the value of parents as human beings.

Sixth Commandment: “Thou shalt not kill” is the first genuine moral statement in the Decalogue because with the issue of real harm in the real world, although it is unqualified. Does this mean that capital punishment is wrong? What about self-defense? What about war? What about euthanasia requested by the terminally ill? The drawback of this law is absoluteness—good laws make distinctions. Since the actions and commands of God burst with bloodthirstiness, this commandment seems to lose its import. Besides, prohibitions of murder existed long before the Ten Commandments or the Israelites appeared on the scene. It is not as if the human race never would have figured out that it is wrong to kill without some tablets coming down from a mountain. Laws against murder and manslaughter based on self-preservation and social stability have found their way into almost every culture before and after Moses, and it would be odd if the Israelites did not have a similar principle.

Seventh Commandment: “Thou shalt not commit adultery” is also a good idea, though it is not against the law. And if it were, it hardly merits the death penalty: “And the man that committeth adultery with his neighbor’s wife, the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death.” (Leviticus 20:10) Adultery involves a broken promise between consenting adults and has nothing to do with government. In many, if not most, cases it is destructive to a relationship and affects children of the marriage falls apart as a result. (Other things, such as fundamentalism, can cause the same problem.) But adultery by consenting adults does not fall into the category of malicious or harmful felony. It is a legitimate concern of ethics; however, it is no crime. Why don’t the Ten Commandments mention rape? What about incest? How about the more useful “Thou shalt not beat thy wife?” Why don’t the Ten Commandments tell husbands that it is immoral to force an unwilling wife to have intercourse? Why doesn’t the bible say that it is wrong for you to have sex, even with your spouse, if you knowingly have a sexually transmitted disease (which the bible would do if it were relevant to today). Although adultery is important, does it rate the Big Ten? In the bible, women are considered the property of men (see Tenth Commandment), so adultery was really a crime of theft.

Eighth Commandment: “Thou shalt not steal” is generally good advice and makes a good law. Except in wartime most cultures, before and after the bible, have observed statutes that respect the property of others. But what about exceptions? The Ten Commandments, couched in absolute terms, allow no situational dilemmas. Would it be immoral to steal bread from a wealthy person to feed your starving child? Isn’t Robin Hood considered a folk hero? Nevertheless, most cultures recognize that taking someone’s rightful property without permission, in principle, is generally wrong. Do Christians claim that without the Tablets from Mount Sinai it would have never dawned on the human race that stealing is wrong?

Ninth Commandment: “Thou shalt not bear false witness” is also a generally good principle, but there is no universal law in America against telling lies. We have adequate laws against perjury and false advertising. But we all know that it is sometimes necessary to tell a lie in order to protect someone from harm. Lies in wartime are considered virtuous. The biblical prostitute Rahab was considered virtuous because she lied to protect Israelite spies (Hebrew 11:31). If I knew the whereabouts of a woman who was being hunted by her abusive husband, I would consider it a moral act to lie to the man. True morality is being able to weigh and compare the relative merits of the consequences of one action against another. It is flexible. The bible, on the other hand, makes absolute statements without admitting the possibility of ethical dilemmas. As with killing and stealing, most cultures through history have made honesty a high ideal, with or without the Ten Commandments.

Tenth Commandment: “Thou shalt not covet they neighbors house… wife… manservant… maidservant… ox… ass… nor any thing that is thy neighbor’s.” This Commandment didn’t resonate in America at all, not even in the vast majority of countries. If there were a law based on this commandment, our entire system of free enterprise would collapse! Notice that this treats a wife like property. It does not say “Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s husband’ because it is assumed that everything, including law, is directed at males. This is a plainly silly commandment. How can you command someone not to covet? And why would you? If stealing is wrong, then there is no need for this commandment. If I tell you that you have a beautiful house and that I wish I had it for myself, is that immoral? (Some claim that “covet” in this verse more properly means “to cast an evil eye” or spell upon something, and this should be viewed as a prohibition of sorcery. But the Hebrew word ‘chamad’ according to Strong’s Concordance, means ‘to delight in: beauty, greatly beloved, covet, delectable thing, delight, desire, goodly, lust, pleasant, precious thing.’

Furthermore, regarding the objection “why don’t the Commandments sound more cult-like such as give Moses all your things?”… because that would be too obvious wouldn’t it? A cult or a manipulative group isn’t going to openly say they are, but if you peel back a layer or two, it’s not hard to find. Take for instance the Commandment “Honor thy Father,” it may sound harmless and perhaps like good-advice, but it basically is “if you don’t follow the religion of your father, your a dead man.” Now imagine converting more and more people into this religion, now their next generations are trapped into this religion. Soon you have all these people obeying your religion.

“Finally, one may argue that the Ten Commandments were just politically expedient, designed as a way of subduing people into submission. While one can certainly believe this, it begs a larger question: Why wouldn’t there be some commandment requiring the people to follow Moses himself? Why wouldn’t there be a commandment to “Honor thy leader”? or “Do what that Moses guy says” or “Give Moses as many ladies as he likes”?” (pg. 220)

Because Moses is a mythical character – that’s accepted by the scholarly census among archeaologists and historians.

“We seem to recognize that in school, for example, we must have structure and teachers who impose that structure. This seems obvious, but, strangely, the atheist still imagines structure and justice can happen without anyone in charge.” (pg. 220)

Bullshit. The rules of baseball are entirely a human invention. They do not exist outside of human brains. Does that mean there’s no basis by which we can say someone is playing baseball wrongly or cheating?

Later on this same page, Lurie mentions his mate Derek Vachon asking “what mirror can such a man use to check if he is keeping up his end of morality? How might he know? It’s like a real estate developer who never works by building codes and thinks his buildings won’t collapse.” How does a baseball player know if he is following the rules? Because he knows the rules, and there are referees on the field, cops on the sidelines, people watching the game, and the rules are all written down in rule books so anyone can verify them and familiarize themselves with them. It’s easy for a secular person to “hold a mirror” up to evaluate if they are keeping up with their end of civility and morals.

Why We Have Standards At All

From an evolutionary point of view, we don’t really have a specific need for standards.” (pg. 221)

From an evolutionary point of view, it is necessary and expected for social animals to develop standards. And that is what we see in hierarchies among animals. Animals have standards when it comes to choosing suitable mates, that’s one of the main driving forces of evolution called artificial and sexual selection, both subsets of natural selection.

And here is the irony. If you are an evolutionist, you believe there is a functional purpose to most biological things. But you can’t find our overall purpose through evolution, because evolution only explains existence through survival of the fittest. It leaves no room for purpose.” (pg. 222)

Gravity doesn’t explain humanities purpose, that doesn’t mean gravity isn’t real or true. In the same respects, evolution not explaining things like purpose does not mean it’s false. Purpose is not determined by origins. Things can have purpose even if their origin is due to chance. The North Star, for example, came to its position by chance, but people still find a purpose for it.

To paraphrase from the Declaration of Independence, good structure allows us to form a more perfect union. And unlike the animals, we strive for that perfection—whether in the telling of a great story, being the fastest in a bike race, or finding a cure for a disease. In other words, we want to achieve great things. We can only do those things with meaningful structure. Because it is not evolutionary, only God may infuse us with that sense of structure. God gave us this sense of structure and standards precisely so that we can strive for and achieve great things.” (pg. 222)

Prove it.

Competition is a powerful driving force, because nature itself is all about competition, so it’s no mystery why humans have it too. A God is not necessary to explain where our sense of competition comes from.

What Movie Are You In?

Without God, most people will focus on nature. But nature has no sense of morals: morals have nothing to do with nature, and nature has nothing to do with morals. nature has only one rule: the strong survive.” (pg. 223)

If the strong survive, why did the dinosaurs go extinct while the Jurassic rodents survive? Seriously Lurie, use your brain.

The forces of nature, from avalanches to volcanoes, don’t have morals. But social animals do. What Lurie is doing is more or less saying “if fire doesn’t have morals, why should we?” It’s comparing apples and oranges.

But we humans—most atheists included—hate this notion. Nature’s key message is: (1) kill the weak; and then (2) eat them. Nature is not a positive role model for us, despite it being “natural.” (pg. 223)

This claim exemplifies the naturalistic fallacy by arguing that the way things are implies how they ought to be. It is like saying that if someone’s arm is broken, it should stay broken. But “is” does not imply “ought.” Evolution is descriptive. It tells how things are, not how they should be.

Humans, being social, improve their fitness through cooperation with other people. Even if “survival of the fittest” were taken as a basis for morals, it would imply treating other people well, because social animals that cooperate and sustain each other survive.

Americans are the most charitable, innovative, and creative people—and friendly—the planet has ever known.” (pg. 225)

Subjective. I could argue the Irish, the Brits or even the Swedes are the most friendly (personal experience strongly supports that, but regardless it’s still anecdotal.)

Consider the ratio in salaries between top-tier CEOs and their average employee: in Britain it is 24 to 1; France 15 to 1; Sweden 13 to 1; in the United States, where 83% of the population believes that Jesus literally rose from the dead, it is 475 to 1.

The atheist may retort that he finds and creates meaning in what he does, that he enjoys and believes in being a productive member of society. He’ll even say he’s insulted that I referred to his beliefs as “empty.” But I am only holding up the mirror to him….If you are an atheist, you believe in emptiness, not fulfillment.” (pg. 226)

Lurie is not holding up a mirror, he is holding up a distorted sketch what he portrays atheists are like.

Chapter 7: Godlessness; Not Cute Even When It’s Sleeping

What the World Needs Now Is…. Passion, Sweet Passion

Lurie goes on to talk about the fall of the Roman Empire. “Yet most of that collapse came from within. While there are many reasons for Rome’s decline, the most broad explanation was that Rome gradually and generally disregarded distinctions and morality.” (pgs. 227-228)

Lying Lurie at it again. He cites this as his source: http://www.history.com/news/history-lists/8-reasons-why-rome-fell

Note number 7 where this list blames the spread of Christianity as the cause for the loss of traditional values. And Lurie says the disregard of morality was the “most broad explanation,” whereas his sources says “While the spread of Christianity may have played a small role in curbing Roman civic virtue, most scholars now argue that its influence paled in comparison to military, economic and administrative factors.” Lurie is a damn little lying weasel.

Lurie then swings at blaming the Roman leaders for immoral sexual behavior (Emperors Tiberius kept groups of young boys for his pleasure; Nero castrated a male slave so he could take him as his wife; and Commodus, with his harems of concubines, enraged Romans by sitting in the theater or at the games dressed in women’s garments), blames brothels and forced prostitution, human and animal cruelty in the arena….

….yet Lurie’s source for this was still the same one presented earlier, and it mentions none of these things. Apparently, Lurie and his team couldn’t be bothered to cite their sources properly.

Lurie goes on to talk about the fall of Rome due to moral decay…. which I’m going to skip because it’s the fact remains that, as Lurie’s first source made clear, most scholars now argue that its influence paled in comparison to military, economic and administrative factors.

“Passion got us into and through the First and Second World Wars. It would have been easier to sit out both of those wars; after all, other than Pearl Harbor there were no real battles fought on American soil… But we went anyway: Our passion against evil—” (pg. 231)

America went to war because we were attacked, both times. The Lithuania was sunk and we intercepted a message from Germany to Mexico. Then there was Pearl Harbor. We didn’t jump into either wars for our “passion against evil.” If that was the case, we would’v jumped the moment the first bullet was fired in Europe. At best we supplied our allies with weapons, but we did sat on our asses until we were attacked.

Next Lurie goes on about Americans are less willing to fight evil, such as ISIS. He reminds us the great wars America started (the American Revolution, the Civil War, WWI and WWII, Korea and Vietnam and overthrowing Sadam Hussein). Funny how he left out the genocide of the Native Americans, the war with Mexico (cuz that would imply that Mexico is evil) and with Spain. Weaseling little Lurie.

Lurie wonders why Americans are less willing to fight evil. He speculates, “maybe we have changed.”

Or maybe Christian Americans are finally listening to their Christ about seeking pacifism and never war. I recall back in college I would engage missionaries from Canada to Ecuador, as well as scores of Christian students. They were everywhere, of many denominations. And every one of them said Christians should never go to war, to do so is to go against Christ. So maybe America is “losing it’s way” in Lurie’s hallow head, not because of atheists, but because of Christians. After all, Christians are still the overwhelming majority in America. If any demographic is going to have any major sway on the nation, it’s them. And the key thing that has sway over Christians are their Bibles, and their Lord and Savior. Just like Martin Luther King Jr. they listen to Jesus’ message of loving their enemies and turning the other cheek in Matthew 5, Luke 6, and more. “Put your sword back in its place… for all who draw the sword will die by the sword.” (Matt. 26:52) and “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.” (Matt. 5:9) While the Messiah was supposed to be a warrior to drive out the Romans and rule Israel, Jesus’ ministry instead promoted the opposite.

Or maybe we changed in the sense we realized what a load of horseshit America is full of. Champion of good against evil? If that were the case, we would’ve invaded Africa by now. or Saudi Arabia.

Or maybe we just got sick of war because now we can see the horrors of it on YouTube. Maybe veterans are becoming more vocal, telling us the reality that war is hell AND the missions they did overseas was wrong and evil, that they did horrible things not for “freedom and democracy” but to satisfy our nationals greedy selfish imperialism.

Or maybe people are less willing to fight ISIS and let the Middle Eastern countries deal with them is because we may be asking ourselves: we have a lot of radical groups in America, should we welcome foreign superpowers to invade/bomb us just to eradicate them? I doubt Americans would like that at all. If that’s the case, what right do we have to constantly meddle in the affairs of nations that have nothing to do with us?

Or maybe Americans are more concerned about not dying for lack of healthcare, or sick that too many Americans live in poverty. Maybe Americans are starting to re-think their priorities.

There are many more reasons why Americans are becoming more and more unwilling to support war. Right now, Americans are scared that Trump will escalate things to the point the world enters World Ward 3.

The Lurie takes another swing at Europe, he is certain it will fall like Rome. “The Europeans seem not to care about themselves anymore. Not only do they have no meaningful affinity anymore for Christianity or God, they don’t even have a sense of what it means to be French, British, German, or even European. What binds them? What values do they share? What would they all fight and die for together, if they had to? I have no idea. And I think they have no idea. Certainly, there is no cause any European seems to be proclaiming that they’d be willing to die for. It’s as if the pacifism, their open disdain for nationalism, has wormed itself into the very DNA of Europe.” (pg. 235)

They don’t have any sense of what it means to be German or British? Have you ever been to a football game? Seriously, how does Lurie eat living in his bubble?

“We have the military and the might—still. But we mostly received these from men before our present generation. They amassed such power not because it was nice to have big battleships and missiles and cool jets, but because they had passion to keep America and its values strong. We must re-learn and reawaken that passion. And it is no secret what has allowed the West, and particularly America, to achieve its greatness: God-centered free-market capitalism, with an emphasis on the greatest gift God has given us, liberty.” (pg. 236)

It wasn’t passion to build jets and battleships, it’s greed and corruption thanks to the military industrial complex, fueled also by imperialism — not “passion” for “American values” but “passion” to dominate smaller weaker nations over geopolitics and resources.

Lurie ends with a bid farewell to Europe, saying we’ve had a glimpse of the last years of the “Roman Empire.”

And I can likewise bid farewell to the American Empire.

Of Heroes, Fear, and Woody Allen

Lurie just shares several stories of Christians and Jews behaving courageously in the face of danger.

“It took centuries for his words to take root, but eventually Christianity displaced the paganism of the Roman Empire, leading to the largest religion humankind has ever known and helping advance the Judeo-Christian values of freedom, morality and civilization itself like never before. As a Christian, you might even say it all turned out quite well.” (pg. 239)

It turned into a disaster known as the Dark Ages. I’d say the effects of the Enlightenment promoted the values of freedom, morality and civilization that turned out well.

Atheism, Evil, and the Playground of Evil

Lurie shares a story of a child who causes a chain of events with a stick that leads to a crowd being shot at by the army, all because he was bored and blamed everyone for not giving something to do. Lurie then states that while we make kids “channel” their aggression with sports and sword-fighting, we don’t apply this “channeling” to boredom. Lurie makes his false case by confusion atheism with nihilism to argue they will cause chaos.

Lurie says that is happening because the atheists are primarily the ones trying to get the 10 Commandments off of court houses, parks and government buildings.

“It is mostly atheists, or at least people for whom God is relatively meaningless in their lives, who seek to dismantle the trappings of religious life (Santa Claus, “merry Christmas” salutations, Christmas lights), and policies advancing religious life (tax deductions, grants, commemorations to saints, allowing prayers in schools and the like). They suck the joy out of life.” (pg. 245)

A) Atheists still celebrate Christmas with their families. Nobody is trying to outlaw Christmas or Santa Claus.

B) Promoting “Happy Holidays” doesn’t get rid of Christmas (in fact, it includes it), it just acknowledges that there are multiple faiths and holidays in the month of December. So it’s an inclusion of everyone, but Lurie is butthurt that his faith doesn’t have dominance or favoritism. So immature.

Furthermore, it is companies that pursue saying “Happy Holidays” because of it’s inclusive nature, because inclusiveness invites more customers, thus more money to be made — and that is what business care about. It has nothing to do with trying to abolish Christmas.

C) Allowing teacher-led prayers is Unconstitutional.

Lurie then talks about several examples of people ruining people’s day (from computer hacking to murder) just because it gives them a “rush.” Lurie suspects people do this because they are bored. Then he goes on and on about how atheism offers nothing, and a world with God offers “infinite possibilities.”

Yeah, from learning how to play chess to being commanded to go murder people.

Godless and the Blindness to Evil

Lurie makes the reader imagine that they are a fire fighter, rushing into a burning apartment, and finding a young woman lying in bed half-naked reading a book and she refuses to be saved regardless what you tell her (accuses you of “mansplaining” and “trying to fix everything.”) So you skip her and rush to the next apartment and find a mother and 7 year old. They are both aware of the danger, so you offer to help them out, but when you say “have him grab my hand” the mother pulls the child back and says “well actually ‘he’ is a ‘she’ thank you very much” and goes off talking about the biological sex and genders, so much so that Lurie has the reader skip them and rush off to the next apartment to find a person crying for help, but as you approach them and offer to give them an oxygen mask, the person waives you off with their arm because “you’re white!” You try to reason with him, but the man is upset that all the firefighters that have been by were all white, he demands there to be a firefighter who is black, Hispanic, gay, female or even disabled. Lurie has you skip that person and the next person you find refuses your help because you interrupted his Muslim prayer and threatens to report you. Right after that, after pondering how bizarre this whole situation is, the building collapses and burns. No one survives.

Lurie says that bizarre world is what we live in today. We let Russia invade Europe; we let China enforce it’s One Child policy; we let North Korea and Iran threaten their neighbors with nukes; and while the world demonizes Israel, nobody says anything about the terrors committed in Muslim countries, Cuba, Venezuela. The European police do nothing about the Muslim refugees raping women because the police don’t want to be accused of racism.

Lurie says while this is happening: “But for many in the West, the focus is on far loftier things,” such as gay marriage and making a vendor cater to their weddings; the right of a “man who feels a woman” to use the women’s restroom or locker room; allowing women the right to walk around topless; giving people the freedom option to say the Pledge of Allegiance; banish the word God from public funds; we’re not recycling as much as we should; and finally people are concerned with climate change and rising sea levels, even though Lurie states that no one knows how much the sea levels will rise and when.

This is not to say that some of these concerns are not worth addressing. There is nothing wrong with seeking out new efficiencies, which may include recycling, reducing pollution, and so on. But sensible perspective seems to have left us. Compare the number of people who have died from climate change to the people who are now dying because of radical Islamic terrorism. No one has died from climate change, and no one arguably ever will, even assuming we are causing the planet’s temperatures to rise.” (pg. 254)

If that was so, then why does the Pentagon state that climate change is a larger threat to the US than Islamic terrorism?

We don’t set priorities based on body counts, we do it under immediate danger.

Lurie blames the inability to see the danger of Islamic terrorism over climate change is because….. you guess it, because we can’t tell our asses from our elbows without God. “Why is this strange imbalance of perspective happening? Because those who truly are without God don’t recognize the very existence of evil.” (pg. 254) On pg. 255 he says people just brush off certain actions as not “evil” but a bad choices.

A fine example of religion warping a person’s moral compass. Lurie’s like a Christian version of a ISIS sympathizer who can only hope for a fire fight between two opposing tribes instead of seeing the world burning around him. There is a reason why the Pentagon names climate change a greater threat to national security than Islamic terrorism.

“Climate change poses another significant challenge for the United States and the world at large. As greenhouse gas emissions increase, sea levels are rising, average global temperatures are increasing, and severe weather patterns are accelerating. These changes, coupled with other global dynamics, including growing, urbanizing, more affluent populations, and substantial economic growth in India, China, Brazil, and other nations, will devastate homes, land, and infrastructure. Climate change may exacerbate water scarcity and lead to sharp increases in food costs. The pressures caused by climate change will influence resource competition while placing additional burdens on economies, societies, and governance institutions around the world. These effects are threat multipliers that will aggravate stressors abroad such as poverty, environmental degradation, political instability, and social tensions – conditions that can enable terrorist activity and other forms of violence.”

Godless and the Enabling of Evil

Lurie goes back to talk about Marc Lépine at the Montreal massacre mentioned earlier in this book. He wonders why the men didn’t do anything. He mentions an article writer who thinks that feminism emasculated the men to the point they didn’t feel brave enough to stop the gun man. Lurie’s theory why those men didn’t respond: “These men likely never learned what evil was at all. I think they were utterly unprepared to respond. They hadn’t formed the basic intellectual neurons to understand what was happening.” Basically, they were incapable of “identifying perpetrators of evil.” (pg. 257)

This guy could write for Alex Jones.

Again nitpicking…. but you’ll see why I couldn’t let this slide: “But if [college students] hear someone question climate change, they will jump into the fray with both feet and argue with many jabbing fingers. If someone argues against racial favoritism, they will fight that, too.” (pg. 257-258)

Is he implying racial favoritism is okay?

“Then do a thought experiment: If this had happened a hundred years earlier, don’t you think that at least a few of the men would at least have attempted to tackle the murderer?” Lurie says they would’ve in the past because they learned what evil was in school and has a strong sense of duty to God and country. (pg. 258)

No man or anyone thought to stand up and say “this is wrong” in the middle of a crowd that was about to execute an accused during the Salem Witch Trials.

Or the Massacre at Wounded Knee.

Logically, either these events were not evil, or Lurie’s argument is illogical.

Just Leave the Popcorn on the Floor

“People who do not believe in God only see what is now… To them, there is no past and no future. There is only here and now. Of course, they understand there has been a past and that there will be a future. But there is no real reason for them to care….

There’s nothing worth fighting or sacrificing for, at least not beyond this present life.

” (pg. 261)

Is that why atheists joined the US Military?

The Diary of a Wimpy Generation (or “Class, What Are you Willing To Die For? Anyone?… Anyone?)

Lurie shares a story of him in high school in Hawaii, the class met a Senator Inouye who fought in WWII. During Q&A and kid asks “what if I don’t want to die” to which Inouye argues that the men who died didn’t want to die, but they willingly died to protect your freedoms, and if you’re not ready to fight then evil wins. (Lurie suspects that kid was an atheist because “knows” someone with little knowledge of God would say such things)

What I find amusing from this is that, even after this “palpable” response, Lurie never served in the military. I checked his LinkedIn profile, no mention of military service. Go figure. Isn’t it odd how a lot of the biggest pro-military blokes never served a day?

Lurie later on says a world without God creates a world of “wimps.”

Really, is that why the Russians beat the Nazis and took Berlin?

Luries mind is all over the place. He’ll go on and on about the communists, but it’s like he’s unaware that the “godless wimpy communists” fought back and beat Hitler. Those “godless wimps” took Berlin before the mighty American military. Hell, even Japan didn’t surrender after the American’s dropped 2 atomic bombs on it. In fact, the Japanese didn’t surrender until Russia sacked Berlin and turned it’s military attention to attacking Japan. So the American Navy fleet closing in, numerous air raids from the American Air Force and 2 atomic bombs didn’t make Japan surrender, but when the Russians show up suddenly the white flag waves over Japan? If the commies were wimps, by Lurie’s poor logic what does that make the American forces?

(I know the Japanese surrendered because of several reasons including they didn’t want to fall to a communist regime, I get that all that. That’s why they surrendered to the Americans on the USS Missouri. Now I don’t care if the Americans or Russians had the better armies, that’s neither here nor there, nor am I saying that the Russians were better than the Americans (that’s not a position I take). The only position I take is this: If someone is going to paint the commies as “wimps” then they have to explain why and how these wimps fought back, beat the Nazis and took Berlin before the other Allies, and why these “wimps” didn’t call it quits after that but instead tightened their belts and decided to fight on to defeat the last Axis power in Asia. No matter how you slice it, those are all feats that wouldn’t be achieved by wimps. That’s not to say that the Russians were better than the Americans, it just says that the Russians -like the rest of the Allies- fought like hell. Thank goodness that all the Allies fought hard.)

“We talked previously about passion, and that it was passion which led to America’s victories in the American Revolution and the World Wars. The men who fought these wars were willing to die for what they were fighting for. In many cases, the odds against them were staggering—” (pg. 265)

The same argument can be said about the communists and ISIS, they have a passion to fight for their beliefs, even against staggering odds. So the argument of “passion” is rather pointless in determining who is in the right or wrong.

Later on, when Lurie talks about the 10 Commandments being removed, he leaves this comment as a footnote: “I do not drill down here into what I believe to be the judiciary’s wrong-headed interpretation of the First Amendment. Right or wrong, I present this history solely to show the godless direction such interpretations have taken us, and what I believe will be the consequences.” (pg. 365)

If you think doing A will result in negative consequences B through Z, then you logically ought to think that you should not do A, which in this case would mean that Lurie thinks that the right thing to do is support the 10 Commandments being put everywhere, which in turn violates the Constitution.

Then Lurie goes on to call those who fight for same-sex marriages; trans rights; topless rights; sanctuary cities; mandate history teach about important gay individuals; require teaching climate change…… Lurie says, “these are issues for wimps.” (pg. 269)

Easy thing to say for a man who doesn’t have to struggle with being unable to marry the person he loves.

Wake Me Up When The Clock Chimes Evil

Lurie opens by asking if you saw something or heard someone saw something bad (bullying, animal abuse, etc) but walked away and did nothing only to later feel bad about not doing anything, Lurie says that would you would not walk away if you were a theist. “The belief in God is one part awe of the universe and life, one part understanding a moral code, but yet another part understanding and recognizing evil, and the obligation to confront it. To know and love God is also to hate evil.” (pg. 273)

Earlier in this book, Lurie argued that theists can see the bad coming before the atheists,  because here Lurie says Christians can identify evil. While reading this, I am constantly reminded that earlier in this book, Lurie painting accepting refugees as a bad thing.

But we live in a world where very few learn of the notion of “evil.” They instead teach you there are only “bad choices,” and everything is relative to any given moment. So you gave that man the benefit of the doubt when he was beating his dog, humiliating his child, or bullying that kid. You tell yourself that perhaps something else was going on before you got there….Those without God have not received training to recognize evil.” (pg. 273)

If that is so, then why did Christians let the institution of slavery continue for centuries until they joined movements to mobilize and abolish it? If the sight of a human beating an animal is “evil” then why did the sight of a human beating a slave not trigger a reaction to stop it?

If you don’t see it yet, imagine you saw someone protesting on a campus for Israel, someone arguing that climate change might not be a real problem or that perhaps there should be greater restrictions on abortion rights. Or imagine a white cop in any altercation with a minority. That’s when you’ll hear the godless make their stand. Why? Because those are the circumstances where they’ve learned to be hyper-vigilant. But the true evils in the world, such as the rise of Islamo-fascism, the treatment of women under Sharia Law, the destruction of the family under welfare and the general collapse of marriage, or any of the small confrontations I mentioned above? Not so much.” (pgs. 273-274)

What if we were hyper-vigilant of all the above PLUS the rise of Christian-fascism? Newsflash: we are. You’ll find atheist candidates for office often calling attention to creeping Christian-fascism and call for stronger separation of church and state.

We need the Torah, the Bible, to serve as our guide and training manual. We need it to attune us to see evil when it arrives in front of us. That is what will make us vigilant and responsive when real evil presents itself.” (pg. 274)

Look at how useless the Bible is when Barak Lurie cannot see the evil of people dying of pollution and the mass consequences of climate change. It’s like seeing the fires that recently struck California and saying “that’s not a big deal as people dying from the IRA.” When was the last time the IRA caused mass deaths and $10 Billion in property damage in California? (saying that’s not a fair comparison is forgetting both the IRA and ISIS are foreign issues, not issues the American public have to face on a routine basis)

But the godless know very little of moral clarity. In fact, they learn quite the opposite—that one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter. Everything is relative for them. They’ve learned at best to “listen to their heart” or use logic—whatever either of those mean. The delay is dangerous. The uncertainty of what is good and what is evil leads to protracted wars and confrontations, and therefore to more deaths, and to the weakening of civilization itself. Hamlet teaches us that hesitation kills.” (pg. 274)

So shoot first, ask questions later. That’s the basic underlining theme of Lurie’s argument.

If Shakespeare has taught us things from his plays, one of them is that tragedies occur due to simple misunderstandings.

Hesitation kills… since Lurie loves to quote movies, try the film The Sum of All Fears where a terrorist group detonates a nuclear bomb in an American city, killing millions. Instantly, the USA and Russia are preparing to launch nukes at each other. Imagine if neither side didn’t hesitate? If they didn’t, it’s WWIII, it’s nuclear winter, it’s basically the end of all life. But they did hesitate, long enough that one guy figured out who was responsible for the terrorist attack and convinced both the Russians and Americans to stand down. Hesitation may kill in certain circumstances, but abandoning hesitation could lead to the death of many more, often unnecessary deaths. (Look no further than police who kill unarmed innocent people because the officers “feel” threatened.)

Also, if you read this bit and consider the message of this book in whole, Barak Lurie is telling his readers that “atheism is evil” and “hesitating to kill evil people is bad.” Think what would happen if certain Christians read that, put two and two together, and decided to act.

Chapter 8: Hear No Good, See No Good, Build No Good

God as “Fantasy”

Lurie compares atheists to a clown who can’t find a monkey on his back. “He will not only refuse to look at the facts or the science behind God, he will dismiss you. He will mock you. He will contemptuously say belief in God is “fantasy.” He will no more dignify a listen to the believer’s arguments than he would the arguments of a Scientologist, a Moonie, a Branch Davidian, or any other cultist.” (pg. 277)

Not taking a Christian more seriously than a Moonie or Scientologist is called being objective.

Next Lurie tries to argue that while atheists act like they are the scientific ones and the theists are not, Lurie says the opposite is true. He claims that he can show it too. So what does Lurie provide first to show that atheists are not scientific?

He argues that you can present pretty much everything covered in this book, and it won’t be enough.

Damn straight, because as my readers can see, this whole book is based on false projections and misrepresentations (plus ignorance and misinformation).

Few things that Lurie mentions in his list of things a theist can present to an atheist that were not covered in this book include the following: “You can show him the scientifically insane improbabilities of the universe ever forming; of life ever starting, let alone evolving to different species;” (pgs. 278-279)

Improbabilities does not mean impossibility. This is a common creationist tactic.

The point isn’t whether an biological event is improbable, the point is did it happen? I could argue the insane improbabilities of me even existing (the odds of my parents meeting; the odds of my parents being fertile; the odds that my mother ate the right diet; the odds of my pregnant mother could’ve fallen down some stairs or getting mugged or dying in a car crash; the odds of “me” being born; etc) but the fact is I exist, I am proof it biologically happened. Lurie could argue the “improbabilities” of humans evolving from ancient primates, and yet, despite all the highest “improbabilities” Lurie can calculate, we know it did happen. Just as I can do a paternity test, scientists have basically done the same and discovered that homo sapiens (humans) are evolved primates.

As for the probability of life, given the amount of knowledge we know, the probability appears to be almost a guarantee.

Next: “the perfection of our Earth’s chemical and atmospheric composition and its perfect placement not only in near perfect orbit around the sun, but its perfect placement in our solar system and even within our galaxy.” (pg. 279) He also mentions the Earth’s “perfect” speed of rotation around it’s axis and the “prefect role” of the moon in it’s orbit.

A) Lurie is looking at everything backwards. He thinks that since the Earth seems perfect to sustain human life, it therefore must’ve been made for us. But this is backwards, the Earth is not tuned for us, we are tuned and adapted to it.

As Douglas Adam’s pointed out in the Salmon of Doubt, “This is rather as if you imagine a puddle waking up one morning and thinking, ‘This is an interesting world I find myself in — an interesting hole I find myself in — fits me rather neatly, doesn’t it? In fact it fits me staggeringly well, must have been made to have me in it!’ This is such a powerful idea that as the sun rises in the sky and the air heats up and as, gradually, the puddle gets smaller and smaller, frantically hanging on to the notion that everything’s going to be alright, because this world was meant to have him in it, was built to have him in it; so the moment he disappears catches him rather by surprise. I think this may be something we need to be on the watch out for.”

B) The moon is slowly leaving Earth’s orbit and Earth’s rotation is slowing down. That means Earth’s calendar will never be complete and need constant updating. You’d think that if everything was created perfectly with intention for us to keep track of time, then the Earth’s rotation would be fixed and updating our calendar would never be a thing. But all the things we would expect a God to have created and determined for us are never the things we actually see.

Next: “You could show him how the Bible (the Torah) got every part of its science right (including the Big Bang and the timing of the arrival of the various animal species).”

Too easy.

All it takes to refute such a bold claim is to show at least one unscientific element in the Bible, and Lure just handed us one: the arrival of various animal species.

The Creation Myth in the book of Genesis says that birds came before all the land animals, but we know for a fact that avians (birds) came after the land animals roamed the Earth… for millions and millions and millions of years until finally a subset of dinosaurs developed feathers among other changes to their taxonomy from reptilian to avian.

You could show him how the fossil record, particularly the Cambrian explosion, utterly discredits the theory of pure evolution as Darwin postulated it.” WRONG

A) The fossil record does not disprove evolution, rather it confirms it. Years and years of research, nothing in the fossil record has contradicted Darwin’s theory. For instance, you will never find a fossilized bunny in the Pre-Cambrian strata.

B) The Cambrian explosion does not disprove evolution.

C) Treating Darwin’s postulations like gospel is idiotic (then again, Lurie is a theist). Darwin got a lot of things right, but he also got a lot of speculations wrong. He thought that whales were descended from bears. He was wrong. He speculated that humans originated from Africa. He was right. Just because Darwin got a few postulations wrong here and there does not mean the whole theory goes out the window. The central case of Darwin’s theory, that life evolves via natural selection, has not been proven wrong — thus the theory remains, and is constantly updated when new data is uncovered.

Next: “You could show him all the neurological science that shows the separation of the brain and the mind, and how no one can ever explain self-awareness or consciousness.” (pg. 279)

A) I challenge Lurie to present any such thing.

B) Argument from ignorance.

And yet, after all of this, Lurie projects how he claims how an atheist will respond. “He’ll say that despite the astronomical odds, well, that’s just the way it happened and here we are to discuss it.” (pg. 279)

Dear readers, feel free to check to see if my above responses are anything like “that’s just the way it is.”

Buying a Stairway to Heaven?

Lurie claims that people centuries ago built churches they knew would take centuries to build (no source given), but did it anyway because they were building them for God.

Big whoop. The Pyramids of Giza took years to construct to bury the Pharaohs, the living incarnates of Ra.

Point is, human labor and time put into construction for a god is not an argument for god. If the construction of the pyramids are not “proof” that the Pharaohs were gods incarnated and thus the Egyptian gods are real, then construction of churches are not “proof” that the God of Abraham is real.

Nitpicking again: “Have you ever seen a project in today’s cities where construction might take twenty years to complete, let alone generations? People would dismiss the very idea.” (pg. 281)

*raises hand* Yeah I have, it’s called the Los Angeles Metro systems.

Right now the city of Los Angeles is trying to expand is rail systems. They recently finished constructing a rail line from Santa Monica to downtown, but right now they are working on a rail system that connects with LAX and then extend that rail line all the way to the San Fernando valley along the 405 Highway. Seriously, there is perhaps no other stressful traffic bottleneck spot in Los Angeles than the Sepulveda Pass, so this rail line will be a huge relief for thousands of people. Unfortunately that rail line project through the Pass is projected to be completed in 2040. Personally, I’ve often thought finishing those rail systems should’ve been the cities primary focus for years.

I’m sure readers from all around the world can relate and think of a project their city is undertaking that is taking forever to complete, or know of a project that took a long time to complete (ex. the Large Hadron Collider took years to finish).

Lurie: “Any efforts he undertakes to “make a mark” in his world would be in defiance of everything he believes (or doesn’t believe, to be more accurate). If there is no afterlife and you become nothing upon your death, why would you ever look beyond yourself in any way at all?” (pg. 282)

It’s like Lurie thinks atheists have no humanity or dreams.

How would Christians react if I started to say the same thing about them? (that I argued since they believe they are going to live forever in another world, why bother doing anything at all in this world since it’s going to be temporary and ultimately forget them, esp. after the sun runs out of fuel and the world come to an end)

And Now a Word From Atheism…

Lurie investigates what has atheists ever contributed to show that a world without God would be better, besides cleaning up highways.

Our own lives are contributions that show a world with low to no religiosity is better off. According to the United Nations’ Human Development Report (2005) the most secular nations are also the healthiest, as indicated by measures of life expectancy, adult literacy, per capita income, educational attainment, gender equality, homicide rate and infant mortality. Conversely, the 50 nations now ranked lowest in terms of human development are unwaveringly religious. Other analyses paint the same picture: The United States is unique among wealthy democracies in its level of religious literalism and opposition to evolutionary theory; it is also uniquely beleaguered by high rates of homicide, abortion, teen pregnancy, STD infection and infant mortality.

Lurie: “[Science] has come predominantly from the Judeo-Christian mind-set. You don’t have to like it. You can argue that it somehow would have come about eventually, regardless of faith. But you cannot alter history.” (pgs. 283-284)

It is Lurie who is altering history, either out of intent to misinform, or he’s an idiot who doesn’t do research.

“Where is the good that atheism has done? On behalf of atheism, there have been no inventions, no medical advances, no universities, no schools, no judicial systems, no scouting program for boys and girls, no YMCAs, and no charitable organizations for the poor or otherwise.” (pg. 284)

All it takes is one example of each too prove Lurie wrong.

A) The Internet that Lurie uses was made by an atheist. Does Lurie use a computer? He can thank Alan Turing.

B) Rosalind Franklin, the researcher in biophysics whose work was crucial in Watson and Crick’s discovery of the DNA. She died before being properly credited.

C) After all that bashing and bashing of entire communist countries, did it never cross Lurie’s mind that those communist countries never made a single university or school?

D) Any secular judicial system fulfills this. Secular may not exclude the possibility of any divinity, but belief in divinity does not dictate what is right and wrong or what the laws are — which makes it practically identical to an atheist judicial system.

E) Camp Fire (these guys pride themselves on promoting diversity).

F) Does that mean every non-religious recreational organization gets credit?

G) My friend helps run Atheists Helping the Homeless. That just goes to show how badly Lurie lives in a bubble when he is unaware of a atheist charitable organization helping the needy. Even here at TWL we’ve done several annual charity drives.

Atheism has not even produced a single anti-alcoholism or rehab program of any consequence, such as Alcoholics Anonymous (quick extra credit question—who created that wonderful and highly effective organization?). Atheism did not give the world the Magna Carta, the Constitution, nor even our notion of freedom. Nor did it end slavery or advance civil rights.” (pg. 284)

A) Yes they have.

B) Christianity or Judaism or even theism created the human notion of freedom. I’ve already gone over this.

C) Christianity advocated slavery just as equally as it sought to end it.

D part 1) Atheism has never ended slavery? How is it that Lurie can write a book that has a sub-chapter about the “atheistic” French Revolution and miss the fact that the Revolutionists abolished slavery! Slavery was abolish in France in 1791, not by the church, but by the atheistic founders of the revolution. Freethinkers and irreligious people had called for the abolishment of slavery since the beginning. In the U.S. the early critics of slavery, Benjamin Franklin, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and John Quincy Adams, were all either freethinkers or Deists. Later the abolitionist cause was taken up by such people as Abraham Lincoln (a Deist), Raplh Waldo Emerson (a Unitarian minister turned free-thinker), and William Lyold Garrison (an agnostic). In England, the battle for the abolition of slavery was fought mainly by free-thinkers such as Jeremy Bentham and John Stuart Mill.

D part 2) Atheism has never advanced civil rights? Did Lurie already forget that he mentioned god getting “kicked out” of schools? What he really means is teacher-led prayer, and it was the civil rights case won by atheists that made that possible.

But the atheist will retort: That’s misleading; the point is that no one ever died in the name of atheism. The atheist will announce this as if it has significance. It does not. So what if no one died in the specific name of atheism? The godless ideologies, particularly communism, lacked any notion of spirituality, let alone God.” (pg. 284)

And already said for the Nth time, communism isn’t a godless ideology. Recall that the gospels already promoted communism centuries before Karl Marx was born — who, btw, denounced atheism.

You cannot claim that people died because of atheism if atheism isn’t calling to take the credit. Jihadists kill in the name of Allah, so we know Islam is a leading factor. But where are the atheists who kill in the name of atheism? Do they kill for political reasons or for the “lack of spirituality”? Every example presented in this book has shown it was all for political reasons.

The atheist will proclaim that such an argument is an unfair correlation. Just because communism was godless does not mean it was the godlessness in communism that caused its horrific murder spree of millions. But that’s trying to distinguish the snake from his venom. And wait just one moment: doesn’t the atheist have no problem asserting that because some agents of the Catholic and Protestant faiths did bad things in the name of God, that therefore all things associated with God must be bad?” (pgs. 284-285)

Key difference: none of those communists Lurie cited, from Stalin to Mao, said they did what they did in the name of atheism. Those Christians who did evil things claimed they did so in the name of God and Jesus.

So we know there is a religious motivation to do evil. Whereas the best Lurie has is that communists have a motivation to do evil for the sake of economic and political power, but none for the sake of atheism in atheism’s name.

“And never mind that there is nothing inherent or foundational in the teaching of Judaism or Christianity that mandated anti-Semitism, Inquisitions, or the slaughter of anyone.” (pg. 285)

Too easy. God commanding the genocidal annihilation of Canaanites, Amalekites, Moabites, and more.

Now go, attack the Amalekites and totally destroy everything that belongs to them. Do not spare them; put to death men and women, children and infants, cattle and sheep, camels and donkeys.’” (1 Sam 15:2-3)

Only in the cities of these peoples that the Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance, you shall not leave alive anything that breathes. But you shall utterly destroy them, the Hittite and the Amorite, the Canaanite and the Perizzite, the Hivite and the Jebusite, as the Lord your God has commanded you, so that they may not teach you to do according to all their detestable things which they have done for their gods, so that you would sin against the Lord your God.” (Deut. 20.16-18)

Jesus commanding bring my enemies and slay them before him (Luke 19:27). Recall the book of Acts where Peter enforced Stalinism and as a result two unwilling participants died.

Did any of these happen? Doesn’t matter, the fact remain is that the stories say they did, that God sanctioned all of it, and thus the teaching exists within Judaism and Christianity that genocide is a good thing so long as you believe God is cool with it (and who is to say that God isn’t since God thinks whatever humans think, that’s because God is only in the heads of humans). The proof is in the pudding, and there are so many types of pudding to highlight. One example, the Biblical account of Joshua and the Battle of Jericho was used by Oliver Cromwell to justify genocide against Catholics.

“And that leads us to our second point: it was the godlessness part of both communism and fascism that was instrumental to both their central missions. How so? Both sought to unravel all the world’s prior moral order and civilization. The Ten Commandments were no longer of any consequence under either ideology.” (pg. 285)

By that logic, then neither was the United States of America, since nothing in it’s Constitution resembles the 10 Commandments.

If anything, America is more inspired by the Greek Republic than anything in the Bible.

Marx not only referred to religion as the “opiate of the masses” but also stated: “Communism begins where atheism begins.”” (pg. 286)

Lurie left out the second half of that line. Gee, I wonder why.

“Communism begins where atheism begins (Owen), but atheism is at the outset still far from being communism; indeed it is still for the most part an abstraction.” – Karl Marx

Did Karl Marx know that the apostle Peter already beat him to it? Perhaps not. But I find it particularly interesting that Lurie is willing to discredit Darwin where his postulations were incorrect… so if Lurie can do that, so can I. Given how the book of Acts already has a story of communism / forced collectivism, we can reasonably say (if we focus only on the first half of that line) that Marx is wrong in thinking that communism begins with atheism.

Next Lurie quotes Lenin a lot saying things “we don’t believe in God,” calling religion an venereal disease that needs to be eradicated, and so forth.

Soooooooo….. where is the quote were Lenin says “we do what we do in the name of atheism”? Still waiting for that one.

If a party of Christians took over a country and started a Biblical communist regime, and as a result many people die of starvation, I would blame the communism aspect.

Lastly, Lurie says that the Nazis arrested clerics and replaced crosses with swastikas.

Weaseling Lurie tries to paint the picture like the Nazi’s were anti-Christian or anti-religion, nothing could be further from the truth. The Nazis promoted Positive Christianity, and like Christians of the past, they forced non-complying Christians out of their churches and forced their religion onto others.

The “Good Atheist”

In this section, Lurie shares that one of his law professors was a open communist, and when asked about Stalin or Lenin, the prof. would say that those men twisted communism to suit their personal agendas; that communism if done correctly can be magnificent; and he was a good communist.

Lurie basically equates that professor to all atheists: they may say they are good atheists, but nevertheless atheism is terrible. Lurie takes issue with the “good atheist” for saying that they have morals without God in 3 ways:

Atheism has no foundation for “good”

The fallacy that the notion of “good” can come easily to you.

Finally, Lurie has issue with the idea that you can learn “good” on your own. “This assumes goodness is either natural or instinctive (a notion for which there is no evidence), or that goodness (from God or otherwise) is easy to learn, like learning how to burp. Thinking so is like thinking you can come up with Calculus on your own.” (pgs. 293-294)

Funny how capitalists say the same thing when crony capitalists abuse capitalism to rig the game in their favor while the rest of the populace go nowhere and see no upward mobility.

A) Even if atheism by itself had no “foundation” for good… so what? I think a better question would be, why would morality need a foundation? What difference would a foundation make? I’m going to obey my conscience regardless of whether it is or is not grounded in any foundation. I’m going to obey it even if some infallible foundation tells me not to. Even if Jesus Christ himself descended from heaven and told me to do something that my conscience won’t let me do, I’m not doing it. If morals are the invention of a God, then it’s impossible that they are objective. God is a subject. If morals are contingent upon him, they are contingent upon a subject and are therefore, by definition, subjective.

B) Anyone born with a healthy and functioning brain can have “good’ easily come to them, because healthy brains have mirror neurons which help form empathy – the basic foundation to understanding moral behavior.

C) Smart self-taught people can develop Calculus on their own. That was how Calculus was formed in the first place.

Not believing in God, the atheist may want to believe there is another natural, nonreligious, source for his desire for good. But he can’t find it. If he is honest with himself, he’ll appreciate that goodness and civilization wasn’t always so. He’ll also realize that the Judeo-Christian moral code that most of us live by today is the historical exception.” (pg. 294)

If Lurie wasn’t an ignoramous when it comes to history, the fact that both goodness and civilization both predate Judaism proves that Judaism or monotheism were not the origin of goodness and civilization. Ergo, both goodness and civilization exist independent of Judeo-Christian creeds.

Atheism does not include a notion of “goodness.” Why would it?” (pg. 294)

You know what you’ll also not find when you look up the word “theist”? Goodness. It just says that a theist is a person who believes in God, but that does not mean that the person believes in goodness or the God they believe in is a good God.

Chapter 9: Radical Islam

After Lurie notes that atheists correctly point out that “radical Islam” is not a positive force for good and is responsible for a lot of death and destruction and is against freedoms, Lurie argues this book is “Atheism Kills” not “Only Atheism Kills” and Radical Islam is not NOT the pursuit of God.

We’ve discussed before that human beings can and have abused and distorted just above everything—including God. But that does not render God to be evil Himself.” (pg. 296)

True, God being evil renders God being evil, and that is what Logic determines God to be –assuming it exists.

“Even if you consider radical Islam to be a big exception to the positive force of religion, it does not indict religion generally, nor undermine religion’s usefulness and critical role in civilization generally. Nor does it give godlessness (atheism) points in its column.” (pg. 296)

Hypocrisy.

This whole book is blaming ALL of atheism for the crime of the French revolutionaries and the communists. And yet here Lurie is arguing that you can’t throw out the whole apple barrel because it has a few bad apples.

The fact that some monsters have used Islam—or any religion, for that matter—as a vehicle to commit mayhem does not change the fact that they are exceptions to religion’s ultimate mission of civilization and morality.” (pg. 297)

Religion’s ultimate mission is to “save souls,” beyond that it doesn’t care if civilization goes no further than a setting in a Mad Max movie, and while religions may adopt morals it also adopts immoral guidelines. Since Lurie mentioned Islam, the Qur’an may have morals such as “don’t kill” (most of the time) but it also includes passages that permit slavery. This is why Morocco argued that slavery was a religious right when they were being pressured by Britain to abolish slavery.

Ultimately, the question may boil down to this: would you rather have a country run as a theocracy or a world run without God at all? Just from the numbers of victims alone, a theocracy should be the easy winner. It’s not that I am advocating for theocracy: far from that. But even between these two undesirable governing alternatives, the theocracy at least would lead to less horror, if only because a moral code would still be present—as opposed to one where anything goes, anything can happen, and where there is “logic” for anything.”

And there you have it folks, Lurie loves democracy even though his God is undemocratic, and would favor theocracy over any government that excludes God… all because at least a theocracy has a “moral code” present.

And to that, I would ask if Lurie would rather live in the U.S.S.R or modern day Saudi Arabia. I guess for him Saudi Arabia wouldn’t be that bad, considering that even in Islamic theocracy, it still favors men over women. Gee, I wonder why…

Chapter 10: The End of Distinctions

Religion and the Eight-Track Tape

Lurie goes on too how companies from Amazon to Netflix, and gadgets like the cellphone, have killed hundreds of stores and made older gadgets no longer relevant. Lurie tries to make a comparison and say that secularism is the new wave that is taking over because “(good and evil, parent and child, holy and unholy, and so on [see more below]) are becoming just no longer relevant?

Lurie goes on…

Try going on most college campuses these days and see how students “defend to the death” your right to disagree on affirmative action, same-sex marriage, abortion, climate change, the Israeli-Arab conflict, or even the minimum wage. That passion, that “moxy” for true freedom of expression, was much more real in the past. It’s just not there anymore. Not relevant, as it were.” (pg. 302)

*raises hand* ughhh, I’m an atheist and I’ve defended everyone’s right too speak. Even when I was in college. We’ve had many preachers yell at students, and my reaction was to not “shut them up” or get them kicked off campus. Rather, my reaction was to stand right next to them, focus my attention to the crowds of students and start yelling counter-responses at them. If the Christian yelled “evolution is a fairy tale that says you’ll grow wings” I would yell in response, “Christianity is a fairy tale because Christians believe you’ll grow wings in Heaven, plus you get a halo.” That’s how it often went down, and right after the preacher calls it a day and left, I would get students rushing up to me. Most thanked me and told me what a good job I did, while others engaged me further –those were always fun, because I would talk them through several thought experiments and it’s fun to watch their faces light up when they haven’t considered certain things before like “why were humans created with an immune system if there were no diseases in the Garden of Eden?” (Answer: Either there were diseases which makes Eden NOT a good place, or God KNEW that humans would fall way ahead of time and let it happen)

To this day, I still think that liberals and conservatives deserve equal time and respect to have a speaker present a talk on campus. If certain students don’t like the liberal or conservative speaker, there is a simple solution: don’t go to the presentation. I’m a Liberal, and I give students more credit then most because I don’t think student’s minds are so fragile that listening to a conservative talk just one time will bend them instantly to far-right conservatism. That’s ridiculous. Besides that, I’d be fine if a college campus set up that liberals and conservatives would talk side-by-side so the students can listen and form their own conclusions — I’m in favor of that, being introduced to new ideas is what brought me to atheism, so it would be hypocritical of me to not encourage open dialogue between two opposing views. I want college students to think, hear new ideas and have their views challenged. That’s what college is for, to challenge them, to learn and grow.

Cruel to Be Kind? It’s All Good

I have not cited much from the Bible or other ancient religious sources. I have not done so because, as a former atheist, I know how an atheist would dismiss the rest of my discussion the moment I make any such reference.” (pg. 303)

Rather, I suspect, Lurie hasn’t quoted the Bible because he hasn’t read it. Case and point, this is what Lurie quotes:

“He who is kind to the cruel will be cruel to the kind.” —Talmudic proverb

Yet what did Jesus say? Oh yeah, love your enemies. Twice. Matthew 5:43-48 and Luke 6:27-36.

See what I mean how Christians are all over the map? In one breath they are like “we must obey everything Jesus says” but then in other they are like “let’s take the word of a Talmudic proverb over Jesus on X, Y, Z.” It’s a game of pick and choose, because people pick and choose bits and bits that agree with their personal moral standards. So they don’t learn moral standards from the Bible, they adopt the ones that reflect their own. And since people start their own moral standards to judge the Bible, that means morals don’t come from the Bible.

Here are some of the “distinctions” that Lurie notes that society is losing.

  • Dissing Christianity but giving Islam a pass.
  • Demonizing democratic Israel while defending dictatorships enemies

Lurie blames lack of belief in God for the cause of these lack of distinctions.

This isn’t caused by atheism, it’s caused by human nature. Even if everyone became as much of a theist as Lurie pretends he is, people would still have double-standards rooted in political biases.

More on Lurie’s list:

Lurie’s list My responses
Men and women Are we talking Biologically or Gender? Last I checked, that is a distinction.

Or is Lurie confused that he can’t tell the difference between transgenders and transtrenders?

Entertainment and pornography (the mainstreaming and acceptance of pornography) If Lurie has an issue with pornography, then why does he read the Bible and tell others to read it? Would he show pictures of the paintings on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel to children?
Shame and honor What the fuck is he talking about?

Plus he’s one to talk, given that this book has no shame or honor in it, given how much he lies and lies and lies about atheists.

Parent and child Who fails to make that distinction? I’d like to see that court case.
Teacher and student Is he suggesting that people can’t tell the difference? Or suggesting that teachers are learning from students? Ever heard the phrase sometimes the student becomes the teacher?
Formal and informal (we seem to expect formal attire only at weddings, funerals, and the Oscars; otherwise it’s a “leggings” culture, with clothing optional areas and events in various cities and throughout much of Europe [there is even a new restaurant, Bunyadi, which recently opened in London, where its only unique offering is that you may dine while naked. Upon its first months of opening, there was a wait list of 40,000. Is the food good? Does that matter?]) This guys sounds like he’s walking on the line from adopting ISIS caliphate policy that dictates women should be covered at all times.

If Lurie believes God made man and woman “good” without clothes, why shame people for wanting to dine in the suits God made them in?

There are even Christian churches were the pastor preaches in the nude at the pulpit. So even if Lurie has an issue with people showing too much skin, he can’t blame it on atheism.

Police and criminals Of course people can tell the difference between the two. One is in handcuffs, the other arrests them. Sometimes even dirty cops get arrested, that’s when police become criminals. Or is Lurie bitching that dislike of the police for in America is so high that people generalize the whole police force as criminals? If that’s the case, how does Lurie feel when people generalize all priests as rapists because some thousands of priests were exposed in a global scandal? How would he imagine people would feel if all refugees were branded as terrorists and rapists?
America and the rest of the world (all cultures are the same; multiculturalism; the call for open borders, the failure to enforce immigration laws) Pretty sure people understand the distinction between America and the rest of the world. That’s why they are cautious when they travel to Mexico and improve their Spanish, or rush to Canada for it’s health care.
“Life” vs. “not life” (partial birth abortions are increasingly more acceptable In my experience, it’s the anti-abortionists who have a hard time distinguishing life from non-life. After all, to a lot of them, a few cells is equivalent to a 8-month old unborn baby. Well, by that logic, every time the anti-abortionists scratch their nose, they commit a Holocaust of cells.
Dr. Kermit Gosnell’s murders of late-term and live babies—rendering him the greatest serial murderer in American history—received virtually no mention in the media) Gosnell was convicted of murdering 3 infants. In comparison, Herman Webster Mudgett, otherwise known as H. H. Holmes, America’s first serial killer, confessed to murdering 27 people (9 were confirmed, though he is commonly said to have killed 200 at his infamous Murder Motel in Chicago).

Last I checked, 27 is mathematically higher than 3, which would make Holmes worthy of the title “greatest serial murderer in America” way more than Gosnell.

Art and garbage Lurie doesn’t define what he constitutes as “art.”
Talented or athletic versus untalented and unathletic (everyone gets an award; no one keeps score; there are no winners or losers) The “Participation Trophy” in sports. I have to agree, I’m sick of this notion that all kids deserve a trophy.
Elegant language and profane language (swearing more routinely accepted as part of ordinary conversation) Lurie thinks that godlessness is to blame for that? Then how does he explain Jesus using profane language?

For context, Jews and a lot of other groups did NOT get along. That’s why stories like the “Good Samaritan” get remembered. But anyway, when a sick Lebanese woman approaches Jesus and begs him to heal her, Jesus responds by calling her a dog when he said “why waste food crumbs on dogs?” Eventually the story says he did heal her, but the fact remains that he basically used profane language direct to her face while she pleaded to be saved.

People who come from hostile countries and people who come from non-hostile countries (“profiling”). We must treat everyone from every country in the world as if they have an equal likelihood of blowing us up) Given how many enemies America has, and how much Americans boast about how security is soooo important, shouldn’t treating everyone from every country like they will blow you up be a good thing?

If security is not that important, that defeats Lurie’s complaints about border security.

animals and people (we are just sophisticated animals; eating chicken is like a “holocaust on your plate”14) People ARE animals. Even the Bible admits humans are animals in Ecclesiastes 3:18-21.
Family and all other interpretations of family (“Family” can mean anything now. Any couple of any kind can adopt children; single motherhood is just as valued as a family as a mother and a father) Wow.

FYI, Moses was adopted. So was Esther.

So in Lurie’s eyes, a single mother who loves and cares for her child is not to be valued so long as there isn’t a man in the picture?

History versus the present (there’s a past we can learn from? What past? Ask young people today about the most basic foundations of America; many won’t know the significance of the year 1776, or even which country America battled in its War of Independence) That’s not a failure to make a distinction, everyone knows there is a past. The reason why people don’t know the “basic foundations of America” isn’t a symptom of godlessness, it’s a symptom that the American education system needs vast improvement.
Science and political or social agenda (climate change; evolution) Climate change and evolution ARE science. Only science-deniers make it political because they can’t oppose them scientifically. This is why the Intelligent Design movement relies on the courts and legislation instead on peer-review data and going through the scientific method to earn a place in the textbooks and science classes.
Heroes and those who don’t deserve the title “hero” (the heroes of Iraq, Afghanistan, Vietnam, Korea and WWII, and first-responders and law enforcement and Rosa Parks on the one hand; and Edward Snowden, OJ Simpson, Che Guevara and Fidel Castro, sports and entertainment celebrities, or people who come out of the closet or announce that they are transgender [Bruce aka Caitlin Jenner], on the other hand) So only soldiers, firefighters, cops and civil rights activists deserve the title “hero”?

No whistleblowers? Funny how people support the troops and such, until somebody whistleblows, showing the world that America is engaging in illegal and unethical shit. Whatever happend to Lurie’s demand for more accountability?

It wasn’t all that long ago when people stepped up to seek equality for minorities that made them heroes (MLK Jr., Rosa Parks, Caesar Chavez, etc) but now when people step up to support another oppressed minority, Lure is like “why should we call these people heroes?”

Cultures of life and cultures of death (all religions are the same; all religions engage in “violent extremism;” all religions seek peace). Is America a culture of life? How many Americans die every year for lack of health insurance?

As for religions, the first religion that actually accomplishes peace and never is responsible for death and mayhem will be the first religion I’ll admit is a “religion of peace.” That certainly rules out Christianity, Judaism and Islam. I think the winners are Jedism and Jainism.

I gotta say, after reviewing the “Police and criminals” part, and asking about priests and rapists, I wonder if the irony is lost on Lurie for failing to distinguish Atheist from Nihilist?

Furthermore, atheists make distinctions all the time. We distinguish science from pseudoscience pretty well. Remember when that video of a South African student wanting to abandon science and create an “African science” to explore how black magic works? The Atheist community went ballistic, both in laughs and in facepalms. All around the world, we quickly called her out on social media and told her that there is a distinction between science and the fake type of science she was striving for.

“But instead of appreciating these distinctions, we seem to be doing our damnedest to erase them, one social trend or policy at a time: men being allowed into women’s bathrooms and locker rooms; non-enforcements at the border; students able to talk back or even swear at teachers; the trivialization of marriage for couples (while in the same breath insisting that marriage is imperative for same-sex couples); the legalization of drugs, the expansion of gambling, the disregard of America’s positive role in history, the minimizing of our military, and the mainstreaming of pornography.” (pg. 308)

A) Men can’t use the women’s bathrooms, it’s a felony.

B) How is a small border patrol a “distinction”?

C) Students get sent to detention for that crap, or suspended or arrested.

D) Almost half of American marriages end in divorce, which makes the whole thing very less desirable, yet marriages are important in terms of insurance, hospital visits, inheritance, etc etc etc. That’s why it’s important for marriage rights to be extended to interracial and same-sex couples. While at the same time, it’s understandable why people are hesitant to accept marriage. After all, both diamond rings and weddings are complete total rip-offs (seriously, let’s stop kidding ourselves) and it’s not a fun thought entering an agreement where the possibility of ending up in a room with lawyers and giving away half or all of your stuff lingers over you. (Silver lining, you have the freedom to divorce, a bad marriage ended, and you can date again to find the right partner for you.)

E) The War on Drugs is a failure, the jury is out on that. Does Lurie hate that alcohol is legal? If so, Jesus made and drank wine, and told his followers to drink it too. If Lurie is not, then what rationalization does he have to keep alcohol legal but marijuana illegal, esp. considering that alcohol is a proven carcinogen that kills thousands every year whereas no one has died ever from overdosing on pot?

F) Gambling is a state’s rights issue. God made a bet with Satan over Job, so what’s the issue? Curious that if Lurie has an issue with gambling, why not say anything about Investment Banks or the gambling on Wall Street?

G) Admitting America doesn’t have a perfect golden history does not mean we disregard the good America has done as it matured.

H) What’s wrong with minimizing the military? America outspends more on the military then 26 countries combined (25 of whom are allies) yet poverty rates are high in America and it’s infrastructure is rated at a D. Taking a small chunk of the military budget and redistributing it to create more jobs to fix the infrastructure isn’t asking much, it’s called investing in the people. What good is a military when it’s nation crumbles away from within because people barely have any money to consume squat in this consumer-based economy?

I) If Lurie have an issue with pornography, he should start his complaints with the Bible and the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel.

Meanwhile, we are starting to create distinctions where there should be none (or in some cases, reviving old ones we hoped to eradicate long ago): minorities versus white people (whites have fared better because of “white privilege”)–” (pg. 308)

“Hoping to eradicate long ago” doesn’t mean we did eradicate them. Rather, Lurie seems to wish that we just pretend that these issues just don’t exist.

White privilege in America: It’s debatable, though I think the term has been broaden to unnecessarily (thus ridiculously) high levels to include just about everything, but serious discussions reveal that there are parts that are really hard to deny. Such as Red Lining between Green and Red Zones. Green Zones were suburbs where the vast majority were white residents. Red Zones allow suburb developers to discriminate. The Federal government itself encouraged developers to discriminate. For instance, they passed policies from 1934 through 1968 that granted a whopping 98% of housing loans to white families. In the green neighborhoods, the influx of new wealth attracted new businesses. The red neighborhoods filled with minorities had far less ability to build wealth, and many remain trapped in poverty. Hence, the “white privilege” of these specific community of whites getting ahead in the game, for at least several decades. GRANTED this doesn’t apply to ALL whites (ex. many end up homeless; others were not raised in these green zones or inherited anything from it; etc), just the ones living in such communities and being rich and financially stable enough to qualify for house loans. The rest of us are screwed.

While there are advantages out there, not all success is the result of “white privilege” or even “affirmative action.” A great deal of success no doubt requires hard work, no matter where you come from (but to be fair you don’t have to work that hard if your daddy gave you $1,000,000. THAT folks is privilege. Looking at you Donald Tiny-Hands. *Cue angry Twitter post in 3…2…1…) and I don’t think it’s fair to dismiss and/or belittle someone for being accepted in a college or getting a job. It’s a competitive world, people work hard to get ahead. So when hearing someone succeed, perhaps it’s not a good idea to first react with scoffs and dismissals like “you got X because of affirmative action and/or privilege.”

And yes, I am aware that there are black conservatives, centrists and liberals who insist there is no such thing as “white privilege” (they mainly dismiss/debunk the wildly broaden sense of the term that I spoke of earlier — I mean, you know it’s gotten so out of hand when even some black people are like “oh come on.”); that life is dependent on hard work or where and how you were brought up; and people shouldn’t be judged collectively like a monolith. They’re definitely not wrong on that last part. As for the rest, like I said, it’s debatable. Yes they have a some good points dismantling certain aspects of white privilege, but I think in certain circles, some whites have an upper hand, or at least had an upper hand once-upon-a-time that still keeps a bulk (not all) of modern generations ahead. But I think we’re making good steps to balance things out, there’s still a long road ahead and one way to fix a problem is to talk about them. Lurie here would rather we not go there… so much for all that talk about Christianity promoting accountability, education and self-betterment. Sorry, society isn’t going to achieve “self-betterment” if it doesn’t realize it has problems.

“–employee and employer (an obsession with mandating vacation days, sick leave, minimum wage and overtime, leading to increased tensions between them)–” (pg. 308)

In other words, Lurie wants the peasants to ignore and keep quiet on how royally they’re getting fucked by their corporate masters. He wants America to remain the ONLY 1st world country that does not guarantee by law mandatory paid vacation days. Minimum wage, in other words, Lurie doesn’t want people too talk about earning a living wage, rather be quiet and work for a starvation wage.

“–the many kinds of “genders” beyond just men and women (examples: cis-gender, gender queer, intersex, and pansexual)–” (pg. 308)

I agree the whole 50+ genders thing is BS, nor do I think “gender expression” is the same thing as a new gender. “Gender queer,” I’d say, is a pointless label. We already have Androgynous, why can’t we stick to that? What, did David Bowie not make it appropriate anymore? It’s like atheists trying to call themselves Brights. Sorry, calling it by a different name doesn’t mean you discovered a new gender. All that being said, I 100% support trans-rights and wish them a long and happy fulfilling life. I know a great deal of transpeople hate the whole “50+ genders” thing and want it to stop, so I don’t blame the trans community for a fringe group within their community going off the rails promoting this “50+ genders” nonsense.

Intersex is an actual biological fact. People are born with several variations between sex characteristics including chromosomes, gonads, sex hormones, or genitals. Hence the necessity to distinguish them from the other babies.

Pansexual isn’t a gender, it’s a sexual orientation, a branch of bisexuality. My brother dated a pansexual, has Lurie ever met one? For someone going on and on about the importance of distinctions, Lurie appears to be incapable of distinguishing between sexual orientations and genders. What a bloody muppet.

“–Muslims (the “vast majority are good” while the “vast majority” of Christians and Christian history are bad)–“

I’d say both the religions are bad, whereas the people are overwhelmingly good. But the religion can make them bad, and it does. A lot. Hence, I don’t distinguish between Islam and Christianity. They are both bad and deserve to be ridiculed into oblivion.

“–rape victims of those who are raped by Middle Eastern or Northern African descent, and those who are raped by anyone else–“

Basically, Lurie is saying the Muslim refugees raping people in Europe are getting a pass because no European country will deport them at the risk of being called racist.

I wonder how Lurie would react to the news the foreign American soldiers raped Native Americans for hundreds of years as they pushed more and more into the frontier? I wonder if Lurie is just like the rest of the Christians I encounter (which to date has been ALL) who refuse to condemn the Israelites sanctioned by God to kidnap and rape virgin women taken from war (cuz no theist would dare say that God is wrong).

“–those who believe in God (they are bad or ignorant), and those who are secular (good and sophisticated)–“

Ever wonder why stereotypes are thing? Perhaps that’s because many of them are backed by statistics. You would expect to call a certain demographic “bad” or some similar word if the demographic of people had the highest rates of crime rates (esp regarding particular emphasis on hate crimes); condone torture and capital punishment; divorce; teen pregnancy; abortions; and child abuse cases… and in America, that biggest demographic with all of these are Christians. If you look at the statistics, the states with the highest religiosity are always worse then the States with the lowest religiosity. The overwhelming population in prisons are Christians whereas atheists only make less than 1% of the prison population.

And this isn’t a freak accident. According to the United Nations’ Human Development Report (2005) the most secular nations are also the healthiest, as indicated by measures of life expectancy, adult literacy, per capita income, educational attainment, gender equality, homicide rate and infant mortality. Conversely, the 50 nations now ranked lowest in terms of human development are unwaveringly religious.

“–and, most notably, the so-called separation of Church and State.” (pg. 308)

The separation of Church and State is a real thing. “Congress shall make NO law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”

It is telling that, in the creation of the world, the Torah describes the creation of the universe and the earth by way of separation: there is the dividing of the light from the darkness, earth from the sea and sky, woman from man, and so on.” (pg. 309)

Yet the Bible cannot distinguish between a bat and a bird. To the Bible, they are one and the same. (Lev. 11:13)

When asked about the story of Jonah and the whale, watch how Christians are always quick to say “The Bible doesn’t say whale, it says big fish” because the Bible authors couldn’t distinguish a whale (a mammal) and fish.

The Bible also cannot distinguish between a sphere and a circle. This is why we have the Flat Earther community. When they read the Bible picturing the Earth as a circle (like a compass), it’s no surprise that these hardcore Bible believers choose faith over facts, prompting them to deny science and embrace a primitive and false belief.

It’s like if there was a God, he doesn’t care all that much about distinctions or clarity. It’s so bad, I’ve seen Christians try to claim that their Bibles foretold about radiowaves because a poetic passage in the Bible says that the stars started to sing. I’m not making that up, Ray Comfort is known for making that argument.

Distinctions—like books, video stores, music stores and just about everything else there is to buy and sell in the age of the Internet—seem no longer relevant in a world where there is no need to plan for future generations, let alone to die for them.” (pg. 309)

Is it me or does it sound like Lurie has no idea that book stories make distinctions of books all the time based on genre? Or is Lurie incapable of distinguishing between a Bible and a Playboy magazine? If he can, how can he be so clueless to think that book stores cannot do the same?

The Squishy Believer

In this section, Lurie tries to argue that the mediocre believer (the “spiritualist” type; the type who say, according to Lurie, “God is Love” type of believers who talk about “oneness”; the ones who “believe that most people, if not all of
them, are inherently good. War is never the answer, and all conflict is
the result of economic issues.”) is perhaps more dangerous than the atheist. Yikes.

“He operates solely out of feelings (feelings which come from the God Impulse), but with no understanding of the tremendous potential for danger in those feelings.” (pg. 312) He say these feelings are like fire, which can be dangerous if mishandled, so it requires safety knowledge. When it comes to the “squishy believers” they don’t need to learn anything since all they need to know is already “in their hearts.” Lurie says such believers always hesitate, never make a move, and as a result people die including themselves.

God takes time and study; to know Torah involves hard work. It is more than wanting to be good. It is understanding what good is; why there are distinctions between good and evil; that there is evil and why we must hate it and, yes, even pursue war against it; why structure and family is essential; why we need children—and lots of them; why purpose exists; why it is important to know God and not just to “feel” His presence.” (pg. 313)

A) God is fictional. There, study over. Think I’m wrong, provide evidence of God. Til then, saying “God takes study” is like saying “mermaids take time to study.”

B) Saying the Bible is the key to understanding “good”… how does Lurie determine that the lessons of the Bible are good? Does Lurie determine that the lessons are good because the Bible says so, or does he utilize a form of personal morality to judge the bible lessons prior to hearing them?

C) Species need family and children to avoid extinction. That being said, the world is being over-populated, so “more children” should be limited. Several kids are okay, but going on 29 kids like some Christian families are doing in a country that is not facing any population decline issues is insane.

D) The Bible is the claim that it can answer “purpose,” it is not the proof that it answers the question of purpose. In fact, there’s hardly proof of anything in the Bible. Simple logic: if Christian Lurie rejects a holy text that says both that it answers the question of humanities purpose and Krishna is the ultimate god-head where all versions of gods derive from, then holy books by themselves are not enough to prove anything — why? Because they all require “faith” to believe. Sorry, merely believing in something doesn’t make it true (that’s a statement all believers accept as true whenever they think of believers of different faiths).

E) What is there to “know” about a being that is just in your head? All gods are creations of humans, that’s why all gods look human, act human, think like humans and have human psyches.

More disturbing yet, you can make him do almost anything in the name of that cause. The spiritual need is a powerful one. Without understanding it, it is playing with fire. You might as well be the proverbial moth to a flame. You don’t have to know everything in the Bible or the Torah to have an appreciation of God. (I myself certainly don’t know all I can know of the Torah, the Gamarah, or the Kabbalah.) But at the very least, know that you don’t know. And then at some point, you’ll at least learn of the purpose of the fire, the real one within you.” (pg. 314)

Well it’s obvious that Lurie doesn’t know his Torah, but I’d say he desperately needs an education in history and science first and foremost.

R-E-S-P-E-C-T—The Human Distinction

Basically Lurie is telling reader to show respect (say “please” and “thank you”) because people have the free-will to deny you (and free will means we’re not animals).

Lurie says that somehow humans are infused with the notion of respect, even children — that we demand respect and know we need to give it. Lurie later on says that respect is not found anywhere in the animal kingdom.

Then why do Beta wolves respect the Alpha? Respect of authority is one of the key things that holds a hierarchy together across all animals, from a pride of lions to a family of bonobos.

Lurie states without evidence or rational that Atheism is a “world without respect for the individual. The atheist does not and cannot appreciate the individual because he cannot recognize that everyone’s sense of individuality can come only from God. A government system without God has no need to respect individuality.” (pg. 321)

The Constitution of the United States. It has a Bill of Rights that highlights, respects and protect the rights on the individual, all the while the Bill of Rights makes no mention whatsoever of any biblical references. It’s a completely secular document, yet it does all the things that Lurie says cannot be.

As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion;” — Treaty of Tripoli, signed by Pres. Adams, 1797.

Joel Barlow wrote the original English version of the treaty, including Amendment 11. Barlow forwarded the treaty to U.S. legislators for approval in 1797. Timothy Pickering, the secretary of state, endorsed it and John Adams concurred (now during his presidency), sending the document on to the Senate. The Senate approved the treaty on June 7, 1797, and officially ratified by the Senate with John Adams signature on 10 June, 1797. All during this multi-review process, the wording of Article 11 never raised the slightest concern. So here we have a clear admission by the United States in 1797 that our government did not found itself upon Christianity. Unlike the Declaration of Independence, this treaty represented U.S. law as all U.S. Treaties do (see the Constitution, Article VI, Sect.2: “This Constitution, and the laws of the United States which shall be made in pursuance thereof, and all treaties made, or which shall be made, under the authority of the United States, shall be the supreme law of the land; and the judges in every State shall be bound thereby, anything in the constitution or laws of any State to the contrary notwithstanding.”)

The debate is over: a secular government system (and even godlessness) that operates absent of belief in any god(s) — as the Treaty of Tripoli makes clear — can in fact respect individuality.

Conclusion

This book is a masterpiece of projection, but unfortunately for Lurie, all the negative projection can be lashed at the rational, but that doesn’t mean that any of it has any basis in fact because the rational have long since unshackled themselves from the barbarism in which Lurie’s religion is so deeply rooted. And given how Lurie has shred he was a shitty person even as an atheist, it is no wonder he has found comfort in a barbaric faith.

Lurie’s entire flawed argument rests on the insistent on projecting his shitty attitude (and inability to conceive of alternatives that don’t incorporate his preconceptions and assumptions) onto anyone who doesn’t share his faith. Communism isn’t synonymous with atheism, nor was theism the originator of collectivism (that can be found in primitive hunter-gatherers and even in the Gospels themselves), nor does atheism lead to nihilism and meaninglessness. Most things in life are worth doing for their own sake, they do not require an existential reason. Satisfying curiosity, experiencing love and friendship, acting charitably, delighting our senses and achieving personal goals all provide an inherit sense of gratification and purpose. Conversely, religion deprives life of any personal meaning by turning it into a form of serfdom, in which our only goal is to appease the whims of a supposed celestial dictator/creator and follow its ‘plan’. Any impetus to seek knowledge and explore is removed because all the supposed ‘answers’ are provided. (See also: Richard Feynman on science and purpose [shorter] (a must watch), Dawkins – We are going to die… and we are the lucky ones (a must watch), A Reassuring Fable by Carl Sagan.)

“If nothing we do matters, then all that matters is what we do.” – Joss Whedon

15 comments

  • Greg Schuberg

    it would improve the meaningful exchange if you’d drop the f-bombs, crudity, and general lack of respect – you lose a lot of guys who might otherwise delve into your positions

    atheism doesn’t make sense to me at age 61, but I do think there have been very intelligent seekers on both sides of the issue over the past few thousands of years…… as an aside, I have a couple of sons who don’t believe in God

    with this in mind, maybe respectful discourse is in order? even if the opposing side comes off condescending, uncharitable, or ignorant, to respond in kind is to stoop to their level and lessen your chance of a fair hearing, though admittedly it be small in any event

    • TheGodlessWolf

      You’re absolutely right on how a response piece should be approached. I am aware that such things should be approached with grace and composure, esp. if you wish to challenge and change minds (which I surely would like to accomplish, thus I try to the best of my ability to uphold those standards). I don’t always succeed and I could’ve done better in this review. That being said, I don’t regret what I wrote for I’m a man who makes no apologies for telling dishonest little muppets what I think of them. Looking back and knowing how vulgar I can really be, I’d say I showed a lot of restraint when the worst I did was drop a few F-bombs instead of asking Lurie when the pasty organ that passes for his brain will return from vacation so his obnoxiously pungent irritated-from-overuse rectum could stop doing the thinking and talking for him.

      The sewage had been spilled by Lurie once he publishing this book, so I took it upon myself to write an extensive review as best I could to clean up the mess, despite how painful it was to read such a book. Working through the pain, the more I read, the less I cared about respect for the wanker. It wasn’t the montage of slanders against atheism that shortened my fuses, I’m used to such slanders. I’ve heard a great deal from Christians I’m practically numb to it. To me, as a historian, it was the overbearing amount of ignorance of history combined with not knowing how the world works (esp. in Europe) that really grinds my gears. His bigotry toward other minorities made it worse. Bigots can say whatever they like about atheists, but I can’t stand it when people bastardize history. And if not knowing history wasn’t bad enough, Lurie barely understands how the current world works (ex. when he said Europe doesn’t create things, I nearly had a brain aneurysm). I have very low tolerance of Americans who don’t know their history, especially the ones who are so deluded into thinking America is so star-spangled-awesome that they are somehow the only country in the world that has certain things such as freedom.

      So yes, my chances of attracting curious minds may have been discouraged by certain moments in my speech, and yet I can’t help but feel completely satisfied with my review. I’m sorry if my blog didn’t completely please you and everyone, but the saying goes it is impossible to please everyone and I’m just too relieved with myself that I managed to make it through this propaganda book with my sanity intact. All I can do is thank you for taking the time to read my blog and assure you that I will try better in the future (which I will). I hope you continue to encounter more and more intellectual discussions, and I hope they will be better than mine. Cheers mate.

  • Greg Schuberg

    You are welcome. I’ve made my peace with my faith (RC, traditionalist). I’m Californian, and believe me it’s not easy sledding holding onto one’s faith in these parts (I imagine you’d be happy to know that).

    So much mystery all around, not the least of which is how you and I can think so differently about life’s meaning. To see my sons leave my creed has caused me to look into what they are looking into with vigor I haven’t spent since my late twenties, when I gave my cradle Catholic faith a review as an adult.

    In reading the exchange, I find so much rancor and lack of successful conversation that I come away thinking I’ve really not gained anything. I have a deep love for humanity. I have five brothers I’m really close to, and reading these exchanges is like seeing a bloody fist fight between two of them.

    You wrote so much in this book review that I’ve forgotten much of it. I listen to Dennis Prager sporadically, thought about getting the book, then started looking for reviews from your point of view, in order to see whether or not it might make a positive impression from my viewpoint on my eldest son. Guess not!!

    Anyway, I may reread your review and post on some of it if I think there’s any point. I’m no where near as intellectually-minded as you and so many atheists are; I feel the eye-roll from you all often. At my age, I’m fine with that. Thinking human beings are at bottom trying to find out what we’re doing here. At least the people I like to hang with are. I’d imagine we have that in common.

    Thanks again for responding.

    • TheGodlessWolf

      I’m well aware of religion in California. I’m a Los Angeles native. Got way out of dodge, but I can say without a doubt, even as liberal the Golden State may be it is easy to have and hold faith in California. Like everywhere else, religion is everywhere and always in your face (and I’m not just talking about the Mormons coming to your door and the Scientologists recruiting in Hollywood). There are more churches and “iglesias” than gas stations, I even noted that in this review: Barak Lurie went to UCLA, that campus is surrounded by churches. Even I’ve been to RC churches, they’re so easy to find.

      If I had to wager a guess what your sons may be thinking is realizing the “mystery all around us” is a very complicated task, and it is rational to have beliefs be tenable to where the evidence is, and so if the evidence should change so should our beliefs. And they want to be damn sure the evidence is rock solid, for they want to believe in the least false things as possible so they have to be very careful and very critical. That’s why they likely side with science, because it is attempting to seek the real answers on how the world really works. Ex. Science showed us how lightning forms, that there was no bearded god on a tall mountain tossing bolts willy-nilly. I’m sure they may think that religion makes it easier to answer the great mystery as well as cope with the random shitty things that happen to us, but “feelings” may not enough for your boys. They NEED it to be real, and if the evidence doesn’t show it’s real (or the evidence can make the exact same case for Krishna or the Great Unga Bunga), then they don’t want to fall back on “wishful thinking” (ie. faith) and adopt fantasies around that (like Mormons and getting to rule their own planets after death). Rather, they tighten their belts and prefer to face the real world head on. Like children learning Santa Claus is not real, instead of crying they mature and embrace reality, and live their lives not being good just to get on the “Nice List” for presents, but instead doing good for goodness sakes.

      Exchanges within family can be challenging. My family knows I’m an atheist, and my family includes Evangelicals, Baptists, Catholics, Presbyterians, Mormons, and Lutherans. We all prefer to keep to ourselves. I don’t know what exchanges are like in your family, but I hope all sides do not confuse “successful conversation” with successful conversion. Both sides need to dialogue, listen and understand, and definitely do not go the Barak Lurie way by using fear and misinformation. Which means don’t use Dennis Prager, watch the videos I posted above on my blog to see why he’s no more honest than Lurie. Trust me, I’m doing you a favor. One of the key things that push people out of religion is the blatant dishonesty (I lost track how many people were Turned Off by religion thanks to the efforts of creationists.)

  • T Crater

    Barak Lurie has written the most despicable and dishonest book since “Mein Kampf.”

    Lurie’s vicious agenda is simply to endear himself to religious people by smearing atheism.

    There is simply no LIE too outrageous, too shameful, or too disgusting for Barak Lurie to embrace and shout from the hilltop, if only he can smear atheism with it. His favorite lie is also his most disgusting. He seeks to endear himself to Christians by telling the world that the fervently Christian Fuhrer Hitler and his Christian Nazis were actually atheists! How shameful. Hitler and his Nazis sent atheists to the concentration camps – along with everyone else who didn’t worship Jesus. Far from perpetrating the Holocaust, atheists were among the victims. Not even the most dishonest atheist in the world will ever be able to find a way to be any more dishonest than Barak Lurie, the utterly shameless Believer.

    Hitler lived and died a Roman Catholic. The Pope could have easily excommunicated Hitler if he didn’t think Hitler was a good Christian. Far from ever doing so – even when Hitler was obviously being defeated – the Pope made deals with Hitler, and agreed to give Hitler veto power over Bishop appointments in Germany. For his part, Hitler told the churchmen:

    “The National Socialist State professes its allegiance to positive Christianity. It will be its honest endeavor to protect both the great Christian Confessions in their rights, to secure them from interference with their doctrines, and in their duties to constitute a harmony with the views and the exigencies of the State of today.”

    – Adolf Hitler, on 26 June 1934, to Catholic bishops

    Here is the Christian Fuhrer Hitler bragging about “stamping out” atheism:

    “We were convinced that the people needs and requires this faith [Christianity]. We have therefore undertaken the fight against the atheistic movement, and that not merely with a few theoretical declarations: we have stamped it out.”

    – Adolf Hitler, in a speech in Berlin on 24 Oct. 1933

    Some atheist! In fact, Hitler was the ultimate Grand Inquisitor. He was determined to purge Germany of all and sundry who failed to worship Jesus. The Holocaust was simply Hitler’s Inquisition, in supposed “service” to Lord Jesus. Most of the victims were Jews, but many “Aryan” pagans and atheists were killed along with them.

    http://www.evilbible.com/evil-bible-home-page/hitler-was-a-christian/

    Hitler throughout his life declared himself to be a Christian and a “soldier of the Lord.” He never made any secret of his anti-Semitism, and he was voted into power by a Christian populace. Here is a translated excerpt from one of his speeches:

    “My feelings as a Christian points me to my Lord and Savior as a fighter. It points me to the man who once in loneliness, surrounded by a few followers, recognized these Jews for what they were and summoned men to fight against them and who, God’s truth! was greatest not as a sufferer but as a fighter. In boundless love as a Christian and as a man I read through the passage which tells us how the Lord at last rose in His might and seized the scourge to drive out of the Temple the brood of vipers and adders. How terrific was His fight for the world against the Jewish poison. To-day, after two thousand years, with deepest emotion I recognize more profoundly than ever before the fact that it was for this that He had to shed His blood upon the Cross. As a Christian I have no duty to allow myself to be cheated, but I have the duty to be a fighter for truth and justice… And if there is anything which could demonstrate that we are acting rightly it is the distress that daily grows. For as a Christian I have also a duty to my own people.”

    – Adolf Hitler, in a speech on 12 April 1922 (Norman H. Baynes, ed. The Speeches of Adolf Hitler, April 1922-August 1939, Vol. 1 of 2, pp. 19-20, Oxford University Press, 1942)

    In 1933, Hitler ESTABLISHED and became the leader of one of the largest Christian Church organizations in the world at the time. It was called the German Reich Christian Church. It united the various existing Protestant churches into in a single national German Christian church. Hitler certainly didn’t replace the pastors with “godless atheists.” The same old Christian pastors kept their jobs.

    Barak Lurie’s shameless lie about Hitler and the Nazis is by no means his only one. He also claims that “atheism is a CORE PRINCIPLE of Communism” – even though the “Communist Manifesto” never even MENTIONS atheism in any way. In fact, Lurie’s whole disgusting book consists of one shameless lie after another.

    Atheism is simply the rejection of belief in God or gods, and nothing more. There is NO tenet attached to atheism to the effect that an atheist should ever kill any person for any reason at all. The Old Testament is very different! It tells Believers to kill people for all sorts of amazingly petty reasons. See for yourself:

    http://www.evilbible.com/evil-bible-home-page/murder-in-the-bible/

    There is also no tenet attached to atheism to the effect that an atheist should become a Communist. Communist regimes have oppressed religion because churches were controlled by the “bourgeoisie,” and because the regimes were tototalitarian, and wanted to control all discussion and stifle all dissent. Therefore, it is absurd and dishonest to hold atheism responsible for the crimes and atrocities of Communist regimes. Atheism doesn’t tell or cause anybody ever to become a Communist at all.

    Barak Lurie’s shameless dishonesty in spreading his appalling favorite lies, holding atheism responsible for the atrocities of Nazism and Communism, is a perfectly accurate indicator of his level of honesty in everything else he writes. As an example of complete and utter dishonesty and shamelessness, Barak Lurie’s despicable book deserves to be stored in the very same receptacle as “Mein Kampf.”

  • Greg Schuberg

    So much inaccuracy in the post in connection with Roman Catholicism that it calls into question the rest of what’s written, T Crater
    I quote you:
    “Hitler lived and died a Roman Catholic”
    “In 1933, Hitler ESTABLISHED and became the leader of one of the largest Christian Church organizations….the German Reich Christian Church. It united the various existing Protestant churches into a single national German Christian church.” (Yeah, that sounds like Hitler, all right.)

    If the second quote is accurate, he died an apostate from Roman Catholicism. A big reason Catholics are hated is they claim their Church is the one true Church, and that all forms of Christianity outside the RC Church are in error in some measure.

    Gotta be careful about what you write. If there is a glaring error in even a small detail, people will question all of it.

    By the way, could Hitler have been an atheist who would use Christians if he thought it a power advantage? His actions certainly were disconnected with Christian doctrine in the most dramatic conceivable way.

    • TheGodlessWolf

      In the future Greg, when replying to certain individuals, please be sure to click the Reply option at the bottom off their comment to ensure they get a notification that someone is addressing them. Appreciate it. Thank you.

      As for Craters comment, I’m unaware of the data detailing how large the Reich church was in order to say if it qualified as “one of the largest Christian Church organizations” but nevertheless it was exponential. It tried to “unite” (or “recruit” however you may wish to phrase it) more and more protestant and catholic churches under it’s cause, with mixed results. At the end of the day, we know that the Reich Church was established and tried to create an umbrella of supporting churches. And as you can see in the photos I provided on my blog, Christians from several denominations supported the Nazis.

      Did Hitler live and die a Roman Catholic? I’d say he made it clear even before becoming Fuhrer that his brand of Christianity was Positive Christianity (this is what Hitler’s German Workers Party (pre Nazi term) supported in their 25 point “Programe” when they formed in the 20’s right before rising to power), but one thing that is for sure is that Hitler was baptized into the Catholic church and he was never excommunicated from the Catholic Church. So in the strictest sense of the Catholic theology, Hitler died a Catholic.

      The problem with Christianity is there is no one Christianity, there are only Christianities. None can say which is more closer to a “true Christianity” than another. While Hitler had his own critiques of the Catholic Church, so did Martin Luther — and while at the time Luther was called things like the Devil, to this day we do not dismiss Luther as a non-Christian. Even after publishing books expressing his hatred of the Jews, his public criticism the Catholic church and even forming his own branch of Christianity, we still call Martin Luther a Christian. To treat Hitler differently would be a big double standard.

      Could Hitler have just faked it? I think the evidence is overwhelming to the contrary. In his books, letters, and speeches he expressed his private views. We know he was a creationist, he believed in Providence, he encouraged the Nazis to go church, and much more. But for the sake of argument, let’s say he faked it all…. what does that say for the integrity of Christianity if Christianized Germany and even the Vatican could not distinguish a member of their own belief system? Think about it. If the most pious Christians and clergymen could not tell if Hitler practiced false or “real” Christianity, then how in the world could anyone tell?

      • Greg Schuberg

        “The problem with Christianity is there is no one Christianity, there are only Christianities. None can say which is … closer to a “true Christianity” than another”

        Excellent comment. I bring this up with my Protestant friends frequently. But your statement isn’t true for the first 1500 years AD or so, would you agree Wolf? There is no more grievous damage done to the religion in Jesus’s name than the Reformation. Judging men’s souls (your word would be “motives” I think) is God’s business in my way of belief, but I can think of no better way to compromise, if not destroy, the Christian faith than the creation of the Church of England. I just checked google and it states there are 41,000 Christian sects. Look into a few of them and discover they believe all manner of conflicting doctrine. Yikes. What is truth, then, as Pilate asks Jesus. Thanks Luther. Thanks Calvin. Thanks Henry VIII. And yes, I know of the embarrassing corruption in the Catholic Church at the time, and through the centuries. Nevertheless, if Luther et al believed in Christianity as truth, it was massive pride on his part to start, or set the stage for a start, of a different Christian sect.

        You may or may not know the Catholic Creed states belief in “one, holy, Catholic….Church.” No other has the “fullness of truth” in Christian teaching according to RCs. Now I’ll probably have bunch of Protestants on my back in addition to the atheists. You thought it was lonely being a nonbeliever…..try traditional Catholicism! (wink)

        To label Hitler anything but a fallen away Catholic (I didn’t know he was baptized RC) is terribly inaccurate. Whether or not Pius XII excommunicated him has nothing to do with the state of his soul during his life, or at his death, in Catholic teaching. Popes are human, Pius XII may have been weak and made serious errors (there’s a lot written on it and I don’t know what’s true), but it is plausible to speculate that excommunicating Hitler would have led to mass murder of Catholics in Germany during Hitler’s reign. It’s out of my pay grade to make a judgment about the right or wrong on this for Pius XII.

        Sorry if I messed up again on how to post. I’m just about kicked out of the teepee in this electronic age. Time might be drawing near for me to get lost in the Sierras!

        • TheGodlessWolf

          You didn’t mess up.

          “But your statement isn’t true for the first 1500 years AD or so, would you agree Wolf?”

          Actually, no. You’re not entirely wrong Greg, but I suspect you may have little idea just how divided Christians were at the start. Within the first few centuries after Jesus, there were many splinter groups of Christians who had different conflicting beliefs of who Jesus was (and I’m not just talking about the Gnostics) and they fought each other politically for dominance as the true faith (much like we see today).

          Some examples:
          Marcionism – Christ was a purely spiritual entity
          Nestorianism – Jesus and Christ were two different entities
          Docetism – Jesus appeared physical, but he was really incorporeal
          Apollinarism – Jesus had a human body and human soul, but a divine mind
          Arianism – Jesus was the son of God, not God himself
          Catholicism – Jesus was fully human and fully divine, both God and the son of God

          I recommend reading “Lost Christianities” by Bart Ehrman to get an idea just how much the early Christians were fighting each other over dominance. So much so that at least ten of the books of the NT were forged. That’s not a hyperbole, that’s a fact accepted by scholars. There is a class of books called by scholars pseudepigraphy (literally “false writing”) characterized by pseudonymity (“false name”) in which the author deliberately tries to present his writing as originating from someone else. For example, the Pastoral Epistles (1 Timothy, 2 Timothy, and Titus) are considered by a vast majority of critical scholars not to have been written by Paul.

          “You thought it was lonely being a nonbeliever…..try traditional Catholicism!” Forgive me for having serious doubts that being a member of the largest religious sect within the largest religion in the world is lonelier than being a member of one of America’s most despised minorities. Beyond that, I’m not taking sides of which version Christianity is true, because all sides can say the same thing about each other. One side can quote Creeds while the other can quote Scripture at each other until the cows come home, that’s a exchange I’d like to avoid until I’ve seen Christianity having a leg to stand on first.

          One could label Hitler a Catholic or a fallen away Catholic in favor of Positive Christianity. Either way doesn’t really matter to me, because he still constitutes as Christian in the end. I know it’s not your version of Christianity, but neither is Lutheranism and yet that still constitutes as a branch of Christianity. While I do not hesitate in agreeing that (all) Popes are just human and humans make mistakes, according Catholic theology, Popes are infallible and free of error (this was the common dogma tradition going back to the Counter-Reformation in response to Luther. Papal infallibility was solidified at the First Vatican Council in 1868, almost 70 years before WWII). Like I said, I think Popes make mistakes ergo I reject the idea that a human can be infallible, even the ones in holy robes and tall hats. I only bring this up because if we were to discuss the validity of Catholicism as a religion and maintain consistency, we would have to conclude that Pope Pius XII and all Popes to this day actively deciding to not excommunicate Hitler is God’s Will. I’m not saying let’s have that discussion, because as an Igtheist (that’s not a typo), I see no point in discussing what is God’s Will and what isn’t until we’ve established and agreed on what God even is and if it is real. It would be like discussing whether fairies are vegetarians or not.

    • T Crater

      Greg: I didn’t make any “glaring mistake.” The Pope was the one who made a glaring mistake, by making agreements with the Baptized Roman Catholic, Adolph Hitler, instead of excommunicating him. Since the Pope never did so, and Hitler never renounced Roman Catholicism, I see no basis for denying that Hitler died a Roman Catholic.

  • T Crater

    Dear Mr. Wolf:

    I can see that you’ve already done a great amount of work rebutting Lurie’s KAMPF against atheism, which is truly great, and it is wonderful that you were able to post the rebuttal so soon after his disgusting KAMPF came out. So I hesitate to ask for more when you have already done so much. However, I would like to suggest that you consider writing a much more concise version of your most important objections to “Atheism Kills,” perhaps without any graphics. At this point, as far I know, you are the world’s leading defender of human decency against the vicious and hateful cancer of LURIEISM. There – I have just named it for you! You could certainly write it much faster than I ever could, and I am sure you would do a great job. Then maybe you could post it to wikipedia. Anyway, thank you very, very much for what you have done already.

    • TheGodlessWolf

      I can barely put to words the amount of appreciation I have your praise T Crater.

      The work I put in this review was long and very mentally exhausting. So much so I had to take bits from an another article written much better than I ever could write. I included graphics to help speed things along, after all they say a picture is worth a thousand words (such as the pictures of the Christian Nazis), plus I thought it very appropriate to put a face to several of the quotes.

      I wish I could do more, but I believe I’m done. I know my blog has made a big impression, and it makes me proud. On my About Me page, someone credited this book review to bringing them back to agnosticism. Even a mate of mine who is an author loved my review that he suggested I should write a book (I actually already am, but not on religion or atheism). Plus I have to finish several blogs, and I’m already way behind schedule. And I don’t know how far I can get on wikipedia, I’m not sure how much they would let me say without cutting me off.

      Perhaps I will find the time and energy to refute more of Lurieism in the future, and help spread the word what a liar he is. But right now my time and energy is demanded elsewhere(s).

      Thank you again for your comment, it really means a lot. I also thank you for posting that review on Amazon. I noticed my blog was mentioned in one of the reviews, I hope this blog reaches more people in time to spare them the anguish of buying and reading Lurie’s propaganda book.

      • T Crater

        Okay Mr. Wolf, that’s fine, it was just a suggestion. Good luck with your other projects. I will still award you a gold star for your long rebuttal. Perhaps you would like to include in it this link to some evidence that Barak Lurie the Lawyer is just as dishonest as his very own self, Barak Lurie the writer:

        http://www.realbadlawyers.com/category/barak-lurie/

        • TheGodlessWolf

          Fascinating.
          As I noted in this review, I speculated on Lurie’s performance as a lawyer based on how badly he does research, but it never crossed my mind to look into it.

          Thank you Crater. This was a big help. I will read more into these blogs, and then edit my book review to include this link in certain key spots.

  • T Crater

    Amazon removed my first review of “Atheism Kills” – probably because of the long anti-Semitic quote from Hitler’s speech – so I wrote another one:

    Atheism is merely the rejection of belief in any of the countless imagined gods. Lurie’s tedious tract consists of an tiresome stream of stories that prove nothing whatsoever about atheism, interlaced with an equally tiresome stream of blatantly false assertions.

    Barak Lurie states, for example: “Nazism, Communism, and Radical Islam are just some of the forces of evil that atheism both creates and enables.”

    In fact, Hitler was a baptized Roman Catholic who continually claimed to be a “soldier of the Lord.” He was never excommunicated, and was still a Roman Catholic when he died. He bragged that he had “stamped out” atheism. He established the German Reich Christian Church and made himself the leader of it. He sent atheists to the concentration camps. Yet Lurie blames all the evils of Nazism on atheism. Amazing!

    As for the religion he calls “Radical” Islam: “radical” means “root” – and “Radical Islam” is simply the original Islam of the “Prophet” Muhammad, who – according to Islamic sources – massacred hundreds of innocent non-Muslims, and enslaved thousands of others. Devout Muslims have never ceased to emulate and obey their revered “Prophet” by killing “infidels” of every kind, including atheists, for rejecting Islam. They are certainly among the most fervent Believers in God who ever lived. Yet once again, Luries blames it all on atheism!

    As for Communism: Lurie claims, with no evidence, that “atheism is a CORE PRINCIPLE of Communism.” In fact, the Communist Manifesto never even MENTIONS atheism. Communist regimes have oppressed religion because churches were controlled by the “bourgeoisie,” and because the regimes were tototalitarian, and wanted to control all discussion and stifle all dissent. But more importantly, atheism is not Communism. There is no tenet attached to atheism to the effect that an atheist should ever become a Communist. Atheism doesn’t tell or cause anybody ever to become a Communist at all.

    Apart from his blatant falsehoods, Lurie’s tract consists mainly of fabricating and then demolishing a giant Atheist Straw Man. In his entire book, Lurie never once quotes or even names an actual atheist writer of a book presenting atheism, such as Bertrand Russell, Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, or Christopher Hitchens – all of whom have written excellent books explaining their reasons for rejecting belief in any gods. Instead, he pretends that atheism is an ideology, and creates out of nothing his Straw Man Atheist, who turns out to hold all sorts of beliefs which have nothing whatever to do with atheism. Amazingly, Lurie’s Straw Atheist is not only a Communist; he is also, evidently, an anarchist, a Nazi, and a “radical Islamist” as well – all at the same time! But that’s just the beginning. Lurie’s tract reveals countless tedious pages of other beliefs and feelings of this fabulous creature, none of which actually have anything to do with atheism – which is merely the rejection of belief in any gods, and nothing more.

    Lurie’s tedious book is a tour-de-force in the art of the smear. No one will gain any insight into atheism from it, since it contains nothing but misinformation – falsehoods and fallacies and pointless stories.

    An excellent and extensive rebuttal to “Atheism Kills” may be found in the blogsite called Trolling With Logic.

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